Sunday, February 26, 2006

South Dakota lawmakers pass anti-abortion law

Last Updated Fri, 24 Feb 2006 18:03:04 EST
CBC News

South Dakota's legislature has passed a ban on nearly all abortions, a move that could challenge a 30-year-old decision by the country's top court to legalize the procedure.

The bill, approved Friday, would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman's life. There would be no exception in cases of rape or incest.

With the recent appointment of two conservative jurists to the bench, many believe the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion.

"I think the stars are aligned," House Speaker Matthew Michels, a Republican, told the Associated Press. "Simply put, now is the time."

Planned Parenthood, which operates the only abortion clinic in South Dakota, has said it will sue.

Republican Gov. Mike Rounds said he was inclined to sign the bill. He admitted it could be a drawn out legal battle, adding the high court may not hear the case.

The bill "may satisfy a lot of individuals out there who would like to see if there is one slim chance the court may entertain three years from now a direct assault on Roe vs. Wade," Rounds said.

"I've indicated I'm pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong and that we should do everything we can to save lives," he added. "If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law."

About 800 abortions a year are performed in South Dakota.


Jennifer said...

And so it begins...

yrautca said...

Nobody lives in SD, if thats any consolation.

yrautca said...

I admit that this scares me, not because I believe whole-heartedly in abortion, but because now 'they' have enough people in place to materially affect other civil liberties as well.

I know you guys have it good in Canada. You guys are lucky. Its a much more enlightened society than US.

Princess Pessimism said...

this is appauling. You know how I feel about back alley abortions, and coat hanger abortions...even to say those words makes me shudder. SD may not have the population that LA has, or NYC has, but they should still have the right to choice.

Jennifer said...

Well Yrautca, it does seem that we are lucky to have our more enlightened society, but as the wonderful Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, sharing the continent with the US is like sleeping in a bed with an elephant. As it is, we've just elected a Conservative (like Repulican) government with a party leader whose stance on abortion is that he'll 'try to keep it off the table' -read 'I'm reasonable, but my party are a bunch of scary Christian right fuckers from Alberta' so, our civil liberties in Canada are on thin ice too, and it's not as thin as the ice the US is on, but you guys are jumping up and down on the ice and sooner or later we're all going down.
The thing about it only being in South Dakota is that there's most definitely going to be a court case that will go all the way to the supreme court and without Sandra Day O'Connor who just retired the pro-choice on the supreme court is one short, she's been replaced by Alito and his vote is still up in the air.
PP, the thing about SD not having too many people is that only folks with money already are the only ones who can make it to the Planned Parenthood office, and now they have even farther to travel and more time to take off work in order to get an abortion. And, it may end up that no one in the US will have access to abortion in three years time when this gets to the supreme court. Should that happen, I wonder what would happen to abortion in Canada, or Canadian-American relations, considering how apoplectic all those right-wingers are over reasonably priced Canadian drugs going over the border. Would you have to get a pregnancy test before you were allowed to leave the US, or would the anti-choicers just trust that most women who need abortions couldn't afford to take the time off work and travel to Canada anyway.

Princess Pessimism said...

I was thinking of that...having to travel to obtain an abortion....It might not be that bad. Yes, it's true, the added travel expense, and time and inconvenience.

However, if SD notices a decline in their monetary intake at hospitals, maybe they'll rethink it. I dont know much about the abortion rate in comparison to the medical bills in SD, but if one correlates to one another, then maybe they'll smarten up and bring the right to choose closer to home.

Jennifer said...

The travelling thing is key, from your point of view or mine, it doesn't seem so bad, I could hop in a borrowed car and drive 3 or 5 hours, make up some story about needing the day off for an appointment, but imagine being a single mother with some fastfood type job, maybe two and kids, and no car, how are you possibly going to make that happen, then what if you want to keep it quiet, because obviously people in SD aren't very tolerant of these things.
I read somewhere that the majority of women who died of clothes hanger abortions before it was legalized were visible minorities ie black and hispanic (something like 85 or 90%), because they didn't have the money to travel out of the US to get their abortion.
The economic implications will likely have no effect in SD, the only abortion clinic is Planned Parenthood which has already said they'd sue, no hospitals offer it. Besides, I'm sure that the security costs of bombings and protesters, and the amount you'd have to pay a doctor to risk their lives at the job, has taken any profitability out of providing abortions that there may have been in the first place. I think Planned Parenthood is a non-profit anyway.

Trib said...

I wouldn't be too concerned about this. Both of the new justices are very against legislating from the bench and are precident oriented. They are very sharp jurists and believe that their job is to interpret the constitution, which it is. Actually, I think the 9th Appelate could learn something from them. The only people who think abortion will be outlawed in this day and age are christian fundamentalists. Now that they're in Alito and Roberts have nothing to fear from those folks.
Also I'd just like to comment that Canadian drugs are cheap because of a free rider phenomenon. If Americans weren't paying so much for the R&D the drugs (especially for rare diseases) wouldn't even be around. That we pay out of the nose for them is a fact that we as a society have deemed acceptable for pharm to keep making drugs at the rate they are.

yrautca said...

I think if Canada can improve on its economy and become a major world market, people around the world will look up to the Canadian model.

Yes Canada is socially conscious, but does that feed the hungry? I am surprised that they elected a conservative govt.

Jennifer said...

Actually, social programs do feed the hungry. Also our socialized medicine heals the sick.... need I continue?
As for the Conservative government being elected, I don't know either, if people were voting that way to get back at the Liberals for corruption, sure they punished the Liberals, but they punished themselves and the rest of us too!

Jennifer said...

Trib, I know you get a lot of propaganda from the drug companies when you are in med school, but most of them spend more on marketing than research and development and of their R&D money they spend more on developing 'lifestyle' drugs than drugs for actual illnesses, the largest growing sector of the pharma business today is pet anti-depressants - puhleeeease!
I know about this, I work for a company that markets on of the major 'lifestyle' drugs.
They haven't come up with a new treatment for malaria in 20 some odd years, because people who suffer from malaria don't have money. In fact one of the big pharmas did develop a new anti-malarial - and when I say they developed it, I mean they were given the patent for it by a university which developed it with public funds - anyway, they have this drug which works and will turn a profit, but they won't release it because they won't turn a big enough profit.
This brings me to another point, gifts of R&D from public institutions to big pharma, your tax dollars pay for the development of these drugs, then they pass them on - for free - to private corporations, then those corporations insist on having a patent so they can charge whatever they like for the new drug for 20 years.
So the companies develop drugs for diseases that only effect rich people like ADD, depression and erectile disfunction with research that was donated by public institutions and spend a fortune to market them, then charge an arm and a leg for them and we are supposed to thank them? Worthwhile drugs market themselves because they fill an niche, because there was a demand for them before they were developed.
So the government of Canada negotiates collectively to bring down the inflated costs of drugs. That's why we pay their salaries, to protect us from big corporations, the government is there to work for the people not to work for the corporations. If the big pharmaceutical corporations all went under, other ones would crop up and be able to use public research just as effectively to produce our drugs as the old fat cats do now. Because after all they aren't charities, they are corporations and the point of corporations is to produce profit for shareholders and not to provide services to the public. Government is the body whose job is it to provide service to the public.