Friday, February 02, 2007

Welcome to South Dakota, the Fetus State

The legislators of South Dakota should band together and take Jefferson’s face off Mt. Rushmore, replacing it with the bland effete puss usually used to represent Jesus. If they really get ambitious, they could scrape off the representations of the other presidents, too, and replace them with carvings of famous fetuses.

In November of 2006, the voters of South Dakota rejected—by a margin of 56% to 44%—a state law that banned abortion except to save the life of the mother. That law, deceitfully named The Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act, had been signed the previous March by the Republican governor, Mike Rounds. Immediately, a petition to repeal the ban was circulated; it needed 16,7000 certified signatures to get on the ballot, and ultimately received more than twice that amount.

About three months ago, South Dakota's voting public spoke. Loudly.

End of story, right?

Of course not. That isn’t the way religious zealots work. A bomb—this one legislative, rather than physical—was called for. The theocrats within our country have never been the people’s representatives; they are the representatives of their odious imaginary god. The right of privacy be damned! And nowhere more so than in South Dakota, the offensive state motto of which is: “Under God, the people rule.” Maybe that should be changed to the more honest: “Under God, the rulers peep!”

For, lo!, in the state congress, the godpushers have introduced an invasive new anti-abortion bill. Okay, the pious thugs said, we heard our constitutents. Let’s allow exceptions for rape and incest, as well as to preserve the woman’s health. But how about upping the maximum penalty for a doctor’s disobeying the law? Ten years in prison, for a felony, ought to do it! (In the original bill, the maximum sentence was a far-too-lenient five years only.)

Here’s the beauty part of the new bill for those determined to ram religion down the public’s throats (or up their privates, as the case may be). The onus is on the woman and her doctor to provide DNA evidence of rape or incest. In cases of rape, a woman would have to report the crime to police within 50 days of its occurrence, and her doctor would have to confirm that she had done this. Then, the doctor would have to work with law enforcement, offering blood from the aborted fetus for the authorities to test.

The incest provision is even more outrageous. Before an abortion could be performed, a doctor would have to get the pregnant patient to agree to report the incident as a crime and to provide the identity of the penis-owner. To date, no one has suggested that a cell phone photo of the offending member must also be presented.

To summarize the bill’s provisions: most abortions in South Dakota would be verboten, in direct contradiction to the Roe v. Wade decision. Abortions would be allowed when there had been a rape or incest, but only until the 17th week of pregnancy, and the woman and her doctor would have to jump through holy hoops. Whenever the mother’s health might be a concern, a doctor could perform an abortion, but only after obtaining a concurring opinion from a colleague in another practice. This opinion, assumedly, would be charged to the patient. After the operation, the doctor would have to submit a written statement to the department of health, explaining the circumstances that justified his or her decision to abort the fetus. Use of thumbscrews and/or the iron maiden are, apparently, optional.

And the alleged purpose of this infuriating bill? Need you ask? The legislators hope that it will ultimately result in an overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

You can almost hear the sounds of Antonin Scalia’s hands rubbing together in glee, and picture the anticipatory saliva drooling down Clarence Thomas’s face.


Anonymous said...

I only agree with abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. (btw, 2/3 of American feels that way, they are sick of both sides). I don't get in people's faces about it, and I do think these rules they are trying to push in SD are ridculous. they won't pass, don't worry. but news flash: not everyone who doesn't like abortion and tries to search for alternatives is a religious zealot. some of us just think maybe it's been over used (by some people), and that if more help could be given to women in trouble, it might not be necessary as often. what's wrong with that? You don't have to LOVE abortion and think it's necessary in every case to value freedom. oh and btw, 80% of Brazilian atheists said in a recent poll they oppose abortion on demand-except of cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. they do so on purely practical grounds. it's not just a religious issue. maybe it's time you broadened your mind a little yourself.

Psychodiva said...

hi- I'm a Brit and I'm trying to understand your law over there- could not any woman go to another state to obtain an abortion?

The Exterminator said...


There have been many attempts to pass a national law making it a crime to transport a minor across state lines in order to obtain an abortion, unless she has parental consent. (These laws are often given deceitful, Newspeak titles, such as "The Teen Endangerment Act" and "The Child Custody Protection Act"). The last such attempt was passed in both our House of Representatives (2005) and Senate (2006). Because the House and Senate versions were different, however, the act did not become the law of the land -- yet.

In any case, a pregnant woman's right to go to another state for the operation is threatened.

Even more importantly, though, some women cannot afford to just pick themselves up and travel to another state. If abortion is, implicitly, a guaranteed constitutional right -- which many Americans believe -- then it should be available everywhere. Imposing unnecessary hardship, financial or otherwise, on a woman who wishes to terminate her pregnancy should not be allowed.

That's why the specific position of an individual state on abortion is so important nationally. Those of us who are anti-forced-maternity believe that a woman's right to her own body is guaranteed by federal law, and cannot be infringed locally.