South Dakota has passed a bill to criminalize abortion. The law makes no exceptions for rape or incest. It makes a limited exception for the health of the mother – only if the mother’s life is in danger. Note that is not to protect her health or her safety, but only to protect her life. Any doctor performing an illegal abortion is subject to up to five years in prison.
The enemies of a woman’s right to control her own body wasted no time in taking advantage of the changes in the Supreme Court. Governor Rounds notes that he fully expects this new law to be tied up in court for years. Since South Dakota already has a “trigger law” banning abortion that would take effect upon any reversal of Roe v. Wade, that court battle is the only possible point to the new law.
Of course, South Dakota is not the only state with a trigger law. According to the New York Times, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Montana all have laws on their books set to activate if the Supreme Court changes its mind. Several other state legislatures are considering new laws to criminalize abortion.
This is, once again, the demands of religious believers that the rest of the population live by their rules. And regardless of your personal feelings about abortion, you should be aware that the demands will not stop there. A web search of several groups involved in the pro-life movement shows some of their other concerns. Some of the other things that they want to criminalize include contraception, sex education in schools, stem cell research, and assisted suicide. Some of the more extreme organizations throw in intents to stop homosexuality, gambling, women in the military, and non-Christian religions.
Much as I hate to say it, I believe the South Dakota law will be upheld. I believe that in the next ten years, a majority of the states will ban abortion. I believe that the incidence of unwanted children will increase, which will lead to an increase in the population, poverty, child abuse, child abandonment, and infanticide. The availability of illegal abortions will increase, with an increase in women’s deaths and permanent injuries. Many people are willing to accept all that. But when the Religious Right moves on to the next issue in an attempt to make the United States a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, remember that I told you so.
To support Planned Parenthood’s efforts to fight the South Dakota law, check their website: http://www.ppmns.org