Last time I checked in on the South Dakota abortion ban legislation, which was signed by the governor in March, opponents (the pro-choice side) had easily gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot this November. If it's approved by voters, the law would ban abortions, including for rape and incest victims. The only exception is to save the life of the mother. Oh, and maybe for a woman who was a raped and sodomized virgin. Surely you remember State Senator Bill Napoli's creepy description of a possible exception, during an interview on the NewsHour:
" A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."
Makes you pray that the guy doesn't IM anybody, doesn't it?
But it turns out to be more than a window into a disturbed imagination. It was also a window into the tactics and philosophy used by the bill's supporters.
They're making it all about "protecting" women. Yes, women who, according to the state's one-sided task force report, would never choose to have an abortion if they weren't being unfairly pressured by forces beyond their control. Choosing on their own to have an abortion would violate "the mother's fundamental natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child." Yes, they really said that.
This is a tactic the abortion ban's supporters have chosen because they think it resonates with women. Another tactic they've chosen is lying--they claim the bill does make exceptions for rape or incest, but the only provision is the morning after pill, which is available in about half of the pharmacies in South Dakota. Pharmacists are not required to prescribe it or even refer a woman to a drug store where she could get it.
There's evidence that the anti-abortion side is making headway--polls last summer had the bill being rejected by a signficant margin, but now it's very close.
Wanna help defeat this bill? South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is a good place to start.
And if you want to read more, here's an excellent analysis from The American Prospect online.
By the way...It looks like Bob Casey Junior will defeat Senator Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum in Pennsylvania. As you probably know, Casey is anti-abortion in most cases. He is routinely referred to in the press as a "pro-life Democrat", sometimes even on liberal blogs. But adopting the anti-abortion movement's term "pro-life" is like using the Dixiecrats' phrase "states' rights" in the 1950s and '60s. It's lazy at best, and biased framing at worst. And, as we have seen in South Dakota, the words do matter.
Shelley Lewis is author of "Naked Republicans, A Full-Frontal Exposure of Right-wing Hypocrisy and Greed"