Friday, November 10, 2006

South Dakota's reprieve....

I don't know if it's really kosher to take someone off the 'Dead To Me' list. But this is certainly an extraordinary circumstance. Not only did the Democrats take control of the house and the senate while I was away, but South Dakota's referendum resulted in a repeal of the abortion ban. I think I'm happier about the abortion thing than the larger defeat of the Republicans. I'm not sure if it's that it's too big to process the implications of the entire election, or if I've maybe written off the Democrats too. Anyway, I'm taking you off the 'Dead To Me' list, South Dakota, but mind your manners, because one wrong move and you're right back up there!

South Dakota voters say `No' to abortion ban
Nov. 10, 2006. 01:00 AM

Nationwide, the war in Iraq may have dominated the U.S. mid-term elections, but in the conservative heartland of South Dakota, the issue was women's access to abortion. Guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court in 1973, the right has been under growing attack since George W. Bush became president and the religious right began a systematic campaign to overturn it.But South Dakota voters said a clear "No" on Tuesday to a sweeping state law passed in March that banned virtually all abortions. It made no exception in cases of rape or incest or for women facing serious health problems — only those at risk of dying.Voters rejected the ban by 56 per cent to 44 per cent.The wide margin of victory surprised and delighted Sarah Stoesz, head of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America division covering South Dakota, which spearheaded the anti-ban campaign."It's doubly heartening because we beat the ban in a pro-life, extremely conservative, not liberal, state," says Stoesz."People have had enough of cynical wedge issues like this aimed at distracting them from the real problems this country faces."Access to abortion in South Dakota has been steadily eroded in recent years, with its Republican legislature passing five laws limiting its provision in 2005 alone. The result was that no state doctors were willing to perform the procedure. Instead, four physicians had to fly in from Minnesota once a week to the state's only clinic, run by Planned Parenthood. The latest all-encompassing ban would have meant those doctors faced five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.The law was due to come into effect in July but was put on hold after a hastily created coalition of opponents called Campaign for Healthy Families collected double the required number of signatures to force a referendum in the congressional elections. "This is a David and Goliath story," says a jubilant Kate Looby, director of Planned Parenthood's South Dakota office. "We were up against pro-life groups that have been well-organized for 30 years, but volunteers come out of the woodwork."People who had never been politically active on any issue, let alone abortion, knocked on doors, ran phone banks and put up more than 7,500 lawn signs, says Looby. "I never could have imagined that a year ago."But South Dakotans, she adds, reject a lot of government involvement in their personal lives. "When voters realized the truth of the law, that it made no exception for rape or incest, they decided they didn't want government making that kind of decision."Had the ban not been rejected, a legal challenge almost certainly would have been mounted, forcing a showdown at the Supreme Court over its landmark Roe vs. Wade decision giving women the right to choose termination. Given Bush's appointment to the court this year of two conservative judges, no one relished the prospect.Similar laws introduced last spring in 11 other Republican states were set aside pending the outcome of the South Dakota ballot. Melody Drnach, vice-president of the National Organization for Women, suspects they'll now never see the light of day."State legislatures have just been told how Americans feel about the right to reproductive freedom. I hope they hear the message: the public will not stand by you when you write extremely harmful laws against women."On the other hand, South Dakota's Republican governor Mike Rounds, who introduced the controversial abortion ban, was handily re-elected.



3 comments:

Scott said...

Good news, I figured if they asked the people that is what would happen. Damn extremist politicos.

Scott

tokyo tintin said...

i think there's nothing wrong with removing something from the 'dead to me' list. i think the likelyhood is usually low that it would happen, since, for example, i doubt pope nazinger is ever going to do a 180 and say that homos make the best husbands.

in this case however, a removal is definately warrented (unless you want to leave south dakota on there for all the other reasons it sucks, like potash mining and funny accents).

Miss Ash said...

Well at least they got something right, this is great news.