South Dakota Bans Abortions
South Dakota, as Mississippi will soon, has banned all abortions except those to save the life of the would-be mother. While I know it’s just because social conservatives want a crack at overturning Roe vs. Wade, there are a couple things that stick out about this whole episode.
First, both of these states have already scared off (through intimidation, violence, and regulations) all but one abortion clinic in the entire state. So, really, this legislation has the effect of taking a sledgehammer to tissue paper in terms of actual effect on their state. Exactly how many abortions were taking place in their states? And I bet in the next breath these same conservative politicians will note with great lament that their states have among the highest of unwanted pregnancies and the social ills that come with that (quicky marriages, quicky divorces, high rates of putting kids up for adoption, needing welfare to afford children, etc.).
Secondly, I am more disturbed by how many of the proponents of these bans have equated their struggle with Roe vs. Wade with the struggle over the separate but equal doctrine, arguing that all they are asking for is their own Brown vs. Board of Education when it comes to abortion. Ending a pregnancy prematurely before life can be sustained on its own is totally different from denying someone civil rights after they are born because of their genetic inheritance (skin color, religion, sexual preferences, etc.)
But let’s get back to the beginning of this. Aside from picking a fight on Roe vs. Wade, which should end all doubt among pro-choice voters of where the Republicans stand on these social issues that people think they ignore after Election Day, I can’t see any point to this ban. If you have prevented all but one clinic in the state from performing abortions through other means, why issue a state ban – surely there is more important uses of a Legislature’s time then to write bills aimed at singular offices, clinics, individuals, etc.
Maybe if abortions were actually taking place with some regularity in South Dakota and Mississippi could I see an argument for a ban, but this is just plain gratuitous.