Unless you have stayed away from any news this past week, you have already heard of the next confrontation of Biblical proportion. First, it was David v. Goliath, USA v. Russia in hockey in 1980, Chicago Cubs v. anyone in October. Now it's South Dakota v. Supreme Court. And this one will be one for the ages.
Let's get ready to rumble!
But before the big match begins, let's take a look at some stats of those in this battle. In 2000, 1.3 million abortions were reported in America. This number is about 2% of the women of reproductive age (15-44). The number of abortions is down about 1% per year over the previous 5 years. In the same year, South Dakota reported 870 women having an abortion. This number is ½ of 1% of women of reproductive age. This amount is down approximately 3% per year of the previous 5 years. In 2000, abortions in South Dakota amount for approximately 1/10th of 1% of all abortions in the United States. In 2000, there were two abortion providers in the entire state. Latest reports have said there is only one clinic left operating.
Governor Mike Rounds, signed the bill that would outlaw all abortions, except in extreme cases. Personally, I thought all folks against abortion claimed that every abortion was extreme. At the signing, he said "The true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them."
Now, Governor, let me say, if it's the helpless and vulnerable you are interested in, where is your legislation to assist those in need? Have you signed legislation to help the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the underemployed, the uninsured, the underinsured, abolishment of the death penalty or are you only interested in the pre-born. Maybe, Governor, you have signed this legislation for another reason. Could it be that your desire was to be the one to take this issue to the courts? "I challenged Roe" will be your battle cry. It'll look good with those on the right and promote you as a hero of the anti-abortion crowd. Everyone knows Roe. Maybe following the decision, everyone will know Rounds. And hey, he could really get his name ID up there, just in time for 2008.
William F. Buckley, in an op-ed piece this week said this about the legislation and Rounds personally. "Here in three sentences the governor of South Dakota tramples on the neck of cherished modern icons. To begin with, he refers to a fetus as a "child." He refers to "unborn children" as "helpless." Again, they are "persons." And he invokes the heart of civilized society to give them succor." Thank you Mr. Conservative. Whew! When Buckley is on the other side, most Republicans take a second look at their position.
I will come back to the issue and say that I do think it the passage and signing was more to rally the troops against abortion and notoriety, then really thinking this legislation will stand the test of the courts. This is not about saving the "children", about 600 in South Dakota this year. There has to be a deeper reason. I know that 600 abortions are 600 births that will never happen and that each child is special. However, if this bill was passed and signed just to get notoriety and attention to the state or any politician that is worse than the act itself.
The labels used in this argument are deceptive as well and is the main reason I won't use them. Those claiming to be pro-life are interested in what happens before birth and at the point of living/existing like Terri Schaivo and ignore most of what is in between. The in-between time includes life that would include issues of poverty, housing, health, taxes.
But with the new anti-abortion law ready to go on the books with an effective date of July 1, 2006, this issue will not go away soon. I think that we are in store for more rhetoric, less civil conversation. Mmm, sounds like politics as usual.