South Dakota Bans Abortion

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Law, Supreme Court

Yes, the Senate in SD voted for eliminating abortion rights, and by nearly a 2-1 margin:

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) â€â€? South Dakota moved closer to imposing some of the strictest limits on abortion in the nation as the state Senate approved legislation that would ban the procedure except when the woman’s life is in danger.

The bill, designed to spark a courtroom showdown over the legality of abortion, passed 23-12 Wednesday. On Thursday, it was headed back to the House, where lawmakers already approved similar legislation.

Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, a longtime abortion opponent, has said he would “look favorably” on an abortion ban if it would “save life.”

Captain’s Quarters has a thoughtful perspective:

They may find themselves disappointed. John Roberts and Samuel Alito may indeed vote to strike down Roe, but it’s no sure thing. Both men, especially Roberts, gave strong respect to stare decisis, and the courts have provided plenty of reaffirmation of Roe afterwards. In passing a ban that doesn’t take into account rape and incest, the bill itself may give the court sufficient cover to reject it without delving too deeply into Roe. Perhaps the legislators thought those exceptions would prove too difficult to administer, but their exclusion gives another reason for the bill’s defeat.

What I find so interesting is how unpopular abortion has become in South Dakota. This is a state, after all, that elected Tom Daschle to a string of Senate terms until his obstructionism cost him the job. It also narrowly elected Democrat Tim Johnson to the other Senate seat in 2002. Yet the state Senate voted for the most restrictive abortion ban in decades by an almost 2-1 vote. It appears that the popularity of this procedure is waning, and that portends many such challenges in the future, even if this particular effort fails.

Since I’m a supporter of a woman’s right to choose, I find this development disheartening since I think it’s tied directly to equal rights. But now the bull has been let loose in the china shop, so we have to see what comes of it. Personally, I agree that this decision isn’t nuanced enough for the SCOTUS to uphold it, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2006 and is filed under Law, Supreme Court. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

21 Responses to “South Dakota Bans Abortion”

  1. DosPeros Says:

    Was the analogy of abortion to a “china” shop an intended or unintended pun?

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    No. The analogy was to women’s rights, although I understand why you’d think differently.

  3. Running With Symbols Says:

    Talking with my 11-year old daughter about abortion, and other difficult but necessary tasks

    This morning as my girls were getting ready for school, I was replaying last night’s broadcast of Keith Olberman’s Countdown on MSNBC. Olberman often carries stories also aired on the earlier NBC Nightly News broadcast – though he tends to

  4. Alan Says:

    I don’t see this as an equal rights case but as an individual liberty case. I don’t see how anyone can see in the Constitution the right for government to micromanage the personal reproductive decisions of the individual. People may see abortion as morally repugnant but to let the government step in and make these decisions for the individual is, to me, even more repugnant. This is not the conservatism I subscribe to. I believe in limited government. This crap as authoritarian. As a Republican I’m actually hoping to see that brand pseudo-conservatism booted from office just as the Republican School Board in Dover was.

  5. DosPeros Says:

    I see it as an individual human rights issue — but then I’m just a big bleeding-heart liberal.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44779

    As I always, one woman’s individual liberty is another person’s dinner!

  6. Brian in MA Says:

    I see abortion as a trumped up issue that has no good standing on constitutional principle and no real purpose in society other than to prevent a negative while doing nothing to give back to society.

    By what principle does anyone have the right to create another human being through a consensual act and then destroy them because they didn’t want to deal with the implications if their consensual act?

    Why does Scott get charged for a second murder where Laci could have gone to the clinic and had Connor killed with no legal ramifications whatsoever? Why is it infanticide if the head is out but “a medical procedure” when it is not? Such is the duplicity inherent in the right to choose abortion.

    Abortion is a false right, it is a “right” which does not promote the general welfare, a “right” that strangely people do not celebrate n engaging in (such as free speech, freedom of the press), a “right” whose founding logic is so convoluted even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledges its logical holes (though agrees with the outcome).

    We have a larger retiring population, correct? We have around 4-6% unemployment generally, correct? I fail to see how destroying 10% of what would have been the new tax base helps us with our baby boom retirement bankruptcy problem.

    It is so easy to call this “individual liberty” and “reproductive freedom”. You never have to think twice about such patriotic euphemisms, they just sound too noble and American to ever logically assail. Abortion is neither liberty nor freedom, it frees you from nothing but temporary responsibility for actions you will probably commit again if you continue your previous way of life, it solves none of the problems which led up to having an abortion, it can in no way be construed as a positive thing.

    At the end of the day, this “individual liberty” or “reproductive freedom” kills a human being, and in fact, happens in such numbers per annum that it is equivalent to 4000+ abortions/day. If you don’t want the baby, then by all means don’t engage in activities which create them. There is no need to kill a human being where buckling a belt or zipping up a zipper would do.

    As it stands, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned and it would go back to where it rightfully belongs, in the hands of the individual states (and thus SD’s rulings would apply). If the majority of the populace feels the destruction of the right to life referenced in the Declaration of Independence is a noble one worth upholding, then by all means do so, but don’t tell me it is protected under the Constitution of the United States of America.

    One last note, I muse that people talk about government intrusion when your taxpayer funds go into Planned Parenthood, whose clinics provide abortions. Furthermore, the government is supposed to uphold this “right” as sacred on the taxpayer’s dime. So much for government non-involvement in “reproductive choice”.

  7. Jodi Says:

    Brian,
    I hate to say this, but I resent the fact that you have an opinion at all. You are not a woman, so therefore, it follows that you would not see this as an individual right. Government does not have the right to legislate the personal reproductive decisions of ANY person. Let us not forget that women have not even had the vote in this “great” country for 100 years. We have had to fight for all of our rights here in America, including the right to divorce and own property. It is not a question of whether women (and men) should be more responsible before conception because that is not for us to judge. If abortion is banned, let us be clear that it will not stop abortions, it will only take us back to the days of back alley abortions and put more womens lives in danger. Will banning abortion create a society that uses more contraception? I doubt it. Will women still get pregnant and have an abortion? Probably. Will she be safe if she does? Probably not.
    My next question is: Who is going to fund all of the births in South Dakota for children born to women who would have otherwise had an abortion? Will forcing people to have children make people better parents? Most women abort because they know that they could not financially support a child, so who is going to support these growing families at a time when America has a marginal, at best, economy? I personally, would never have an abortion, but I am adament that I would want the right to choose for MYSELF and not have my government legislate my body.
    The fact is that our republican senate, house and president have all been heavily funded by the right to life groups and these groups will not rest until they have seen a return on their investment. The separation of church and state in our country has become so blurred that the church has become the state.
    We have set about spreading democracy throughout the world and yet we are restricting the rights of our citizens daily. Soon the women of Afghanistan will have more freedome than the women of the good old U S of A. Maybe I’ll have to go there to have an abortion should I ever need one.
    I am appalled that people in this country think that they have a right to legislate my body, and that a right could be afforded for thirty years and now we decide to rethink it. While we are at it, let’s reimplement the Jim Crowe Laws and bring back Prohibition. We saw how well that worked. We cannot go back in this country, we MUST continue to move forward.
    Individual states do not have the right to legislate my body, nor does my federal government.

  8. Micah in Mississippi Says:

    I am a Christian and I did not vote for President Bush. I am a college student so please excuse my ignorance and short-sightedness;) I agree that a person should generally be allowed to make her or his own medical choices, so I can see the the logic behind the argument that a woman should be allowed to have an abortion because she should be allowed to do whatever she wants with her body. However, I believe the underlying assumption to this argument – that a fetus is part of a woman’s body – to be false. I understand that arguing this from a biblical perspective would not be effective for some (although it can easily be done), so I would like to present a few scientific and legal arguments. The first would be that of DNA. Anyone who has studied genetics in the slightest sense will probably understand that conception brings about a new human identity based on the view of DNA because conception creates a cell with a DNA sequence that has never existed before in history. It is also true that every cell in a persons body has the same DNA, except for maybe mature red blood cells which have no DNA at all. This is why DNA evidence is the legal standard for cellular identification – because every cell of a person’s body has the same DNA. Therefor, if one finds body tissue at a crime scene or any other place, runs a DNA analysis on the tissue and the analysis matches another that was run on tissue from a known person or suspect, one can be sure whose cells the tissue is made up of because DNA serves to identify them in this way. Now, if one ran a DNA analysis on tissue taken from a mother and and another on tissue from her fetus, they would not be the same; and if the legal standard for cellular identification were used, it would conclude that the fetus was not part of her body; so, from a genetic standpoint, reproduction ends at conception because the DNA present in the conceived cell remains the same from the completion of conception to birth to death – it does not change throughout the whole life of the person. Also, if one was to look at the cromosomes of the unborn, roughly half of the fetuses would contain y-cromosomes, which would identify them as male and therefor not part of a woman’s body. The fact that this is true should help others to see that it is an all-gender issue about the right to life, not just one of women’s rights. I do not pretend, however, to know what it is like to be a woman in this world and I am sorry for the many abuses they have had to suffer through the many years, including those who are aborted for the sole reason that they are female, as has been seen in India and China and I’m sure in the good ole US of A.

  9. Brian in MA Says:

    “Brian,
    I hate to say this, but I resent the fact that you have an opinion at all. You are not a woman, so therefore, it follows that you would not see this as an individual right”

    Jodi, I don’t hate to say this, but the guts that get spilled in an abortion aren’t yours. Therefore, as a fellow human being I must fight against your barbaric killing for whatever reasons you may have, which AGI says ranking at 74% and 73% respectively are “having a baby would dramitically change my life” and “I can’t afford a baby now”. Glowing reasons to destroy someone else, obviously.

    Your lament about the past is irrelevant, women can vote now. We also outlaw murder and thievery leading to the deaths of those who wish to violate those laws and thus by your logic we should repeal them because they would save lives.

    The one thing that invalidates the pro-choice side has been stated by you already:

    “I personally, would never have an abortion,”

    What is the matter? I thought this was FREEDOM. I thought this was LIBERTY, I thought this was a decision to be CELEBRATED.

    A killing is a killing is a killing. Abortion does not solve the reasons behind the abortion, so even if you personally would never have one, your support of abortion groups causes others to continually have them.

    Your next rant is about a nonexistant theocracy in America. Noone is trying to take away anything but the “right” to an abortion, a right that does not promote the general welfare and is only a black hole in taxpayer expenditure.

    I am appauled that you think it a crime for others to “legislate your body” when you would kill someone else in it and call it “choice”. For you it is a minor inconvenience, for the child it is life and death. Did you also know you can’t do hard drugs? Is that “legislating your body”? Abortion doesn’t solve problems and only leads to a promiscuous society that use abortion as retroactive birth control. Apparently people can afford sex, but not it’s consequences.

  10. Jodi Says:

    Brian,
    So I ask once again, though, will banning abortion create a society that is more sexually conscienscious? Will it create better parents? Will it promote abstinence? What positive effect will it have on our society? Will it stop child abuse? WHAT will change about our society by banning abortion?
    Jodi

  11. Jodi Says:

    And, unfortunately, Brian, the fact remains that morality cannot be legislated. Creating laws does not create a moral society. With freedom comes risk, and the possibility of making other people uncomfortable. Freedom is most important when it does make others uncomfortable, that is when it must be protected the most. “They that give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”
    Ben Franklin

  12. LuisaID Says:

    Brian and Micah,
    Keep up the good work! This country needs to hear more of what both of you have said. Life is something precious that should not be destroyed for simple conveniences of “I can’t afford a baby right now” “Now’s not the right time, later I’ll have another one”. If you speak to a number of women who have had abortions they will tell you that it is one decision that they have always regretted. Abortion not only kills an innocent life but in many ways kills a part of you that can never be regained.

    Jodi, yes I agree you can’t legislate morality. But can’t you provide an example for the people around you by standing up and saying that you do not and will not tolerate the murder of millions of innocent children? When is enough, enough? I am glad that South Dakota and so many other states are jumping on the bandwagon pushing forward to overturn Roe v. Wade! All of us need to remember that life is precious and everyone, including the unborn, should be given a chance at!
    Luisa

  13. Justin Gardner Says:

    LuisaID, this isn’t a blog for rhetoric. I respect your opinion, but we’ve heard these talking points again and again and again. Next time, save them for another forum.

    Now, onto your comment…nobody is debating whether or not life is precious LuisaID. At least not that I remember. Abortion is a tragic decision and no doubt it has an emotional effect on the person who decides to have one. But what we are debating is whether everybody is really serious about legislating a woman’s reproductive rights, because, frankly, many feel that it would mean that women would not have equal rights in this country. And frankly, a majority in this country don’t want that balance upset.

    Again, I respect that you feel passionate about this, but I think you’re grossly mischaracterizing the other side’s argument to boost your own. And that’s disappointing.

  14. Micah in Mississippi Says:

    Justin, I think that what we need to be be debating is when life begins, not whether or not to “legislate a woman’s reproductive rights.” I would think that if you asked most pro-life advocates, that their major objection to abortion is not that it removes the states ability to determine that a woman has to reproduce, but rather that it takes an innocent life. I think that the majority of us would agree that at the point when a person’s life begins, it should be legally protected. This is the underlying debate. It is true, yes, that some may believe that extra-marital sex should be illegal for both men and women, but this is a debate different from abortion. Many pro-lifers agree that life begins at conception, so they are not saying that a woman should not be able to keep herself from engaging in reproduction; rather, they believe she already has. When life begins is the key issue, and I think it would be great to hear arguments from both sides on this issue.

  15. Dave M Says:

    After hearing decades of arguments by ideologues on both sides, polls show that while many would see stricter limits on abortion, most Americans don’t want abortion to be illegal. See, for example, http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm

    It follows that most Americans do not think that a human being exists at conception. While high polling numbers certainly don’t make something right, I happen to agree with that position.

    The unique DNA argument is not totally compelling. The zygote can spontaneously split into twins, I believe, up to 10 days after fertilization of the egg. If the fertilized egg is a human being, with a soul, which one gets the soul if it splits, and where does the extra soul come from? I think we should set the standard for protection as a human being at the point of brainwave activity.

    While abortion should be limited to early pregnancy and in certain circumstances, I could not in good conscience force a woman who has been raped to carry the rapist’s baby.

    Abortion on demand as a women’s right doesn’t resonate with me either. I’m a man who supports women’s rights. The argument that because women had fewer rights in the past and had to fight for their rights doesn’t justify that that a fetus should not be given protection as a person until it hits daylight.

    This view from the middle certainly won’t make either side happy.

  16. Micah in Mississippi Says:

    Yes, good point about spliting of the ygote, but remember that the DNA is still different than that of the mother’s. Can you give me any scientific based on DNA to determine that a the zygote is indeed part of a woman’s body?

  17. Beth Says:

    Abortion is essentially a religious issue. Not everyone defines abortion as “killing” because of differences in defining when life actually begins. Therefore, abortion is a spiritually significant issue that must be left up to the individual woman to decide for herself. There is supposed to be a separation of church ans state in this country! We are NOT a born again Christian nation but rather a pluralistic multicultural society in which the religious philosphies of some have no place being shoved into the reproductive lives of others who do not hold to those same beliefs.

    Beth

  18. Bunnie Says:

    I think it’s time we complain to the DNC about Democrats who don’t support a woman’s right to choose. For instance, the six senators in South Dakota who voted to ban all abortions, even for rape and incest and health reasons. It was a Democrat that introduced the bill in the first place!

    Also, serious consideration needs to be given as to whether you send money to the DNC. Remember money to the DNC is given to the state parties to support candidates such as these six senators and the Democratic senator in Mississippi who just introduced legislation to ban abortion. Your money would be better spent going to a candidate directly that you know supports the right to choose.

    The Democratic Party takes us for granted because they say we have no place to go…as I just heard from a DNC staffer. It is time the Democrats who do no support abortion rights be punished. It is time for them to leave the party.

    Go to their website and fire off a letter…

    http://www.democrats.org/page/s/contact

    or better yet, pick up the phone and call them (be prepared to wait….)

    202-863-8000

    Call South Dakota Democratic Party

    605-224-1750

    write South Dakota Democratic Party
    [email protected]

  19. Wendy Says:

    All politics is — not just local — but personal. Those of us who have had abortions (and I am 62, not 13) … need to come out of the closet and stop talking about “women” as if we are visitors from another planet and “they” deserve the right to choose.

  20. Gene Pool Survival Guide and Tips Says:

    Why Women Are Protected From Consensual Acts?

    When a woman stays in an abusive violent relationship, societies won’t simply declare that it must be inconsensual and illegal.
    Societies will ask the woman first whether she wants to stay or not. Yet when a woman happily chooses to share a rich s…

  21. Vortex(t) :: Talking with my 11-year old daughter about abortion, and other difficult but necessary tasks Says:

    [...] Donklephant [...]

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