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The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

While rightfully distracted by the ill-conceived (and frankly ridiculous) proposal to cede control of six major US ports to a company controlled by a foreign government, we have barely registered the fact that a blatant frontal attack is being mounted at the state level which threatens a woman's right to choose.

In the first substantive challenge likely to come before the newly-configured SCOTUS, South Dakota lawmakers are getting ready to vote on a bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions in the state.

Make the jump.


Via the Salt Lake Tribune:

If the bill passes a narrowly divided Senate in a vote expected today, and is signed by Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican who opposes abortion, advocates of abortion rights have pledged to immediately challenge it in court - which is precisely what the bill's supporters have in mind.

Optimistic about the new additions to the U.S. Supreme Court, some abortion opponents say they have new hope that a court fight over a ban here could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that asserted the legality of abortion around the country.

With this ominous backdrop, the stage is set, quickly, for the first real test that could come before the SCOTUS designed to return abortion rights determinations to the states.

Worried?  You should be.  Here is what South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds said in his 2006 "State of the State" address (PDF):

We are taking actions to save innocent young lives in South Dakota and to help people better understand the act of abortion before it may occur.

Although this is an initiative that will be undertaken at a state level, success of the bill will lay the groundwork for a challenge at the SCOTUS level.  The provisions of the South Dakota legislation ban abortion in all instances except where there is risk to the life of the mother.  This is in direct opposition to the provisions of Roe v. Wade, which make banning abortion in the first trimester illegal.  The bill has already passed by 47 to 22 in the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee which has to approve the legislation has approved and passed it up to the narrowly-divided Senate.  It will come up for a Senate vote as early as today.  While Governor Rounds has declined to directly discuss the ban, he did say the following:

"I'm not sure how the bill will come down so I'll hold off on discussions until they deliver the bill to me."

Rounds says he knows the state would be sued if the bill passes, but says he's heard there could be donations that would cover the court costs.

It certainly looks to me like he's circling the wagons.


I'm going to revisit NARAL and it's not necessarily going to be friendly.  I was greatly disappointed by NARAL's non-response to the Alito nomination.    NARAL went into a fundraising frenzy when Sam Alito's nomination was announced.  Given that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that abortion should remain legal (see PollingReport's abortion numbers here), NARAL was in a favorable position to leverage public opinion in opposing the Alito nomination -- yet they seem distracted by putting their funds towards pro-choice candidates who later betrayed them and their benefactors by allowing the Alito nomination to come to a cloture vote.  I don't know about you, but that's simply not how I want my donations to be spent.

I went looking on NARAL's site for a clear statement of mission and I found it here:

NARAL Pro-Choice America Mission Statement

NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

Personally, I think it's clear and well-written.  I also think it's high time NARAL returned to serving its mission.  The South Dakota legislative abortion ban is exactly where donor's dollars should be spent.  Yet I found no reference on NARAL's home page to South Dakota.  The only reference is found this way: a visitor has to select the state bill tracker and then select from the map the state about which they want additional information.  Once a state is selected, you can see information about both anti-choice and pro-choice legislation.  The point is, though, you have to know what you're looking for.  I depend on NARAL to get the word out on what I should be looking for because the likelihood that I just stumble upon it in time to do anything about it is very small.  The South Dakota H 1215 bill proves my point exactly.  Finding out about it only today is too late to have substantive influence at the state level.  The vote is occurring as I type.

NARAL is critical in these times of pro-choice peril.  Yet they seem to have strayed from their mission.  While it pains me to say this, drastic measures may be required.  Money talks in this effort, and we can't afford to let NARAL slip into ineffectiveness.  NARAL supporters need to contact them and clearly convey the message that NARAL has to focus on threatening legislation like South Dakota's H 1215.  Write NARAL and tell them that you won't give your money to them if they continue to focus their dollars and effort on electing so-called pro-choice candidates who succumb to party pressure where the rubber meets the road.  Let them know that they should be fighting at every opportunity to give visibility and opposition to these illegal, anti-choice efforts ocurring in our country.

Contact information:

NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 14th Street NW
Suite 700
Wwashington, DC  20005
Phone: 202-973-3000
Fax: 202-973-3096
Email: can@ProChoiceAmerica.org
Feedback Form

posted by RenaRF at 2:48 PM 8 comments links to this post


Blogger Kevin said...

The shrewdness of the situation is with Cheney hunting and then now port security making headlines "moral values" victories like these can be made since the MSM is not covering this important abortion issue. This is a chance for conservatives to steal victory right under the people's nose. It definitely is important people realize what is happening NOW and stop it.

9:34 PM  
Blogger AzConservative said...

If so many people agree with murdering children inside their creator, why are you afraid of the issue going to the courts? Abortion, either way you see it, should not be decided by 9 lawyers, it should be decided by individual states such as South Dakota and either their elected legislators or directly by the people.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I've heard nothing about this. I DID hear that an issue with late term abortions was going before the supreme court but I haven't heard about this--even on Air America. I think it's important for people to realize that the prochoice movement is about choice--a woman has the right to her own body and the right to make decisions that affect her life. This is frighteningly insidious and the media are letting us down, big time.

8:32 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Hi Bonnie - thanks for the comment. There's actually an excellent post up about the late-term abortion issue over at Daily Kos (Link). It's less about the legal issue and more about the facts. I thought it was awesome.

And yes, unfortunately, the abortion ban passed the SD State Senate yesterday. It makes you wonder WHY so many haven't heard about it, which is the beef I have with NARAL and why I'm withholding donations until they start actually advocating for choice.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Thanks for the link Rena--great post over there and very interesting discussion.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Unfortunately AzConservative, The SD legislature is not following the desires of most of the people of our state. A recent survey showed 61% of South Dakotan's do not support this ban, so leaving it up to the State's to decide isn't an option especially when their legislature doesn't care about what their constituents want.

11:15 AM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

THANK YOU, Bob, for saying what I was thinking. That's exactly it - Nationwide, as of late January 2006 (a month ago) the abortion polls look like this:

Q: Do you think Roe v. Wade should be overturned?

Yes, overturn it - 25%
No, do not overturn it - 66%
Unsure - 9%


If it has come to answering and asking the question again, then so be it - although the question has been asked, asked again, and asked again with the same answer for 34 years, but what the hey - ASK THE QUESTION by referendum and put the issue in the hands of the voters.

11:22 AM  
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10:25 PM  

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