Monday, March 06, 2006

South Dakota and abortion

South Dakota, not previously known as a hotbed of issues other than American Indian/Native American rights, is attempting to become the first state to ban abortions outright. From CNN:
The legislation was decried by opponents who said it would particularly impact rape victims and poor women. Currently, a clinic in Sioux Falls is the only place where abortions are provided in South Dakota. The closest alternative is a Planned Parenthood location in Sioux City, Iowa, about 90 miles away.

"It's a sad state of affairs that we have only one choice (for abortion) right now," said Charon Asetoyer of the Native American Women's Health Care Education Resource Center in Lake Andes. "But if you have to go out of state, the cost of making that trip will be prohibitive."

If a rape victim becomes pregnant and bears a child, the rapist could have the same parental rights as the mother, said Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.

"The idea the rapist could be in the child's life ... makes the woman very, very fearful. Sometimes they need to have choice," Heeren-Graber said.

About 800 abortions are performed in South Dakota each year. Leslee Unruh, president of the Alpha Center, a Sioux Falls pregnancy counseling agency that tries to steer women away from abortion, said most of them do not stem from rape or even failed contraception, but are simply 'conveniences.'

Unruh said she believes most South Dakota women want the state to ban abortion, and many who have had abortions "wish someone would have stopped them."

Gosh, maybe we should just take a poll and resolve the issue that way.

About 15 years ago, Time Magazine had a cover story on why Roe v. Wade was already moot in many rural counties, simply because there was no abortion provider available. Given 15 additional years where there has almost certainly been a further decline in abortion clinics, the "slow road" agenda of pro-lifers becomes clearer. While Operation Rescue does the dirty work of confrontation and murder, pro-life politicians have poked and prodded at the outer reaches of Roe and have gradually confined its scope. As presently constituted, the Supreme Court would seem willing to continue this "slow road" approach.

The wild cards in the debate are now birth control and the "morning after" pill. If the goal is to greatly decrease and/or eliminate abortions, one would think a logical middle ground would be in this area. But after hearing polarizing arguments from both sides, is this really the goal radicals on both sides want to achieve in the larger picture?

Hmmmmmm.....don't think so.
- X


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