Wednesday, February 22, 2006

South Dakota Legislators Ban Abortion

From S.D. Abortion Bill Takes Aim at 'Roe' by Evelyn Nieves of The Washington Post:

South Dakota lawmakers yesterday approved the nation's most far-reaching ban on abortion, setting the stage for new legal challenges that its supporters say they hope lead to an overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The measure, which passed the state Senate 23 to 12, makes it a felony for doctors to perform any abortion, except to save the life of a pregnant woman. The proposal still must be signed by Gov. Mike Rounds (R), who opposes abortion.

The bill was designed to challenge the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe, which in 1973 recognized a right of women to terminate pregnancies. Its sponsors want to force a reexamination of the ruling by the court, which now includes two justices appointed by President Bush.


Not all [Pro-Life] groups agreed with the South Dakota supporters' effort to directly challenge Roe.

"If you're just reading the law as it stands now, South Dakota's law doesn't really stand any chance under Roe or Casey. I have to agree with those who think it's remote," said Chuck Donovan, executive vice president of the Family Research Council and a former lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee.

He said there is not a consensus for a national approach to finding a way to overturn Roe. "There are lots of voices out there and nobody has a single strategy, so South Dakota has stepped in to fill that void," Donovan said.

Still, some abortion opponents are more confident than they have ever been that Roe could be overturned with two new conservative members of the high court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Roberts has not publicly expressed his view on abortion rights. Alito opposed Roe as a young Reagan administration lawyer and had a mixed record on abortion rights while a federal appeals court judge.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a federal law banning a procedure that opponents call "partial birth" abortion is constitutional. The law passed Congress in 2003 but has been struck down by three federal appeals courts and has yet to take effect.

The partial-birth abortion case should come before the Supreme Court in the fall. I haven't yet heard any specualtion as to when this South Dakota case might make it to the Supreme Court.


Friar Tuck said...

I personally think we should legistlate for limiting abortion instead of eliminating it.

Say limiting abortion to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

But...if Christians are going to rail against abortion, they also need to work at adopting high needs orphans and babies.

Kim Traynor said...

Abortion is either a violation of a human being's civil rights or it is not.

I can respect those who have thought hard about the issue and decided that an unborn child is not a human being, and thus not entitled to the right to life, but I don't have a lot of patience for the lazy "cut the baby in half" compromise.

That didn't work in slavery and it's not going work here.

But...if Christians are going to rail against abortion, they also need to work at adopting high needs orphans and babies.

Christians and non-Christians ought to adopt high needs orphans. But I think you are confused about whose responsibility it is to protect the civil rights of the people in this country. It's the responsibiltiy of the government, not the responsibility of the people protesting the violation. That would be like China saying to Amnesty International, "We'll start protecting baby girls from infanticide when Amnesty Internation fixes our over-population problem."

Finally, I'd like to point out that religous right-wingers haven't cornered the market on truth and justice. Many diverse groups have sprung up to speak for those who have no voice.

Athesit and Agnostic Pro-Life League

Feminists for Life

Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians

American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs

Libertarians for Life

Democrats for Life of America

Kim Traynor said...

The Situation with Tucker Carlson featured an interesting discussion between Tucker and Flavia on this story. Both were in agreement that S.D. was jumping the gun and that the Pro-Life movement would be better served by taking gradual steps and thus shifting public opinion. Among some of the laws in the works are a law that would require doctors to inform women that their unborn babies can feel pain when they are being aborted, and a law that will outlaw the use of abortion to eliminate a baby of an unwanted sex.

Friar Tuck said...

I agree and disagree with you.

Here is why the 10 weeks. There are certain signs of life evident at 10 weeks that are not evident before. Thus an arguement can be made in this regard. But you are right looking at it from a legal issue. I guess I just believe that Christians should be more countercultural, creative, and subversive in overcoming this law.

As for the government. Our nation is not a Christian nation. We need to accept that in my opinion and not be as much about power and more about servanthood, and more about being countercultural.

Most Christians are really good at yelling at unbelievers and non-Christian institutions (American government) for not doing what they are supposed to, but are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make the realities that they want happen. This is what the early church did...and part of the reason it was much more dynamic than the consumer church that we have in America today.

If Christians would do more to reach out to hurting pregant mothers (other than protesting abortion clinics) and caring for unwanted children, people would respect them more.

Right now a lot of the world does not respect Christians on this issue because they know we are hypocrites and don't really love the children we are trying to save. We just use the abortion issue to judge others.

Kim Traynor said...

Hey Clint, I was initially unsure of whether I should even post this news, afraid that people would immediately feel judged if they hold an opposing view. But then I thought, the news is the news, and I know I'm not judging people so I shouldn't be afraid to talk about this important subject. So thanks for engaging and making things more interesting!

Here's my response to some of the comments that you made in your last point:

Our nation is not a Christian nation.

Like I said, this isn't a faith issue, it's a civil rights issue. One of the primary duties (arguably the primary duty) of any government is to protect those famous "ineliable" rights, one of which is life.

If Christians would do more to reach out to hurting pregant mothers (other than protesting abortion clinics) and caring for unwanted children, people would respect them more.

Can you name one segment of the population, faith based or not, that does more to aid single mothers and their babies than Christians? No, because there is none, and you ought to recognize and respect that. Can Christians do more? Yes, always, and I hope that more and more churches will work to end the stigmata attached to single parenthood and implement ministries specifically aimed to assist single mothers.

Right now a lot of the world does not respect Christians on this issue because they know we are hypocrites and don't really love the children we are trying to save.

This sentence is packed with assumptions and generalizations.

We just use the abortion issue to judge others.

Who is this "we" you mention? Do you use abortion to judge others? Are you friends with people whose goal in participaing in peaceful demonstrations, giving to crisis centers, signing petitions and voting pro-life is to lord it over the "sinners"? If so, I feel sorry for you, but that's not the pro-life movement that I know.

There is a popular stereotype that exists of pro-lifers as blow-horn toting, pipe bomb packing, bible-thumping jack asses. It's an unfair characterization created to discredit the movement. But this issue is too important to let stereotypes and generalizations make up our minds for us. It's time to look past the smoke-screen to the matter at hand - do unborn babies have human rights, and if so, what are we going to do about it?

howard said...

Aside from all that judgment you're passing down in this post (kidding), this is a very interesting topic.

Some people might feel that this law will threaten the progress of the pro-life movement simply because it pushes too hard. It certainly appears to directly challenge binding precedent. That could conceivably lead to a new landmark decision against abortion rights -- or it could force the federal courts to take what might end up being an even stronger stance protecting abortion.

It takes a chance, and I'm not sure it's the smartest chance to take. But I mostly feel that way because I don't see a clear legal path for this bill once it hits the national judicial circuit.

But then I'm not a lawyer (just a guy who took a few undergrad law classes) so my understanding is far from comprehensive.

That said, I agree with the spirit of what both of you are saying (I think). Nobody outside the Christian community seems to do nearly as much for adoption and other abortion alternatives. But I have been involved in some pro-life efforts where I've been surrounded by people who don't see their mission as going beyond shouting at young women and health professionals at local hot spots; this includes many people who have open disdain for programs that would help poor families and increase the chances for children that are brought into this world on little more than faith.

I'd like to see a more comprehensive pro-life effort that advocates for not just the start of life, but also the viability of it past the womb. And I know there are a lot of folks active in the pro-life movement who feel the same way, but they seldom get heard above the din of the nightly news soundbites.

Kim Traynor said...

Hi Howard! The legal aspects of this are really interesting. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I don't know diddly about law, but what you are saying seems consistent with what I was hearing on Tucker Carlson last night.

rubyslipperlady said...

Thank you all for your thoughts. I appreciate your comments.