February 11, 2006

South Dakota Lurches Backwards

The South Dakota House of Representatives has voted 57 -- 22 to make abortion illegal in an attempt to force the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v Wade and, hopefully, overturn it. The sponsors of the legislation hope that the two newly appointed justices will sway a court decision.

The bill would make it a class 5 felony, punishable by five years in prison, for anyone to perform an abortion in South Dakota. The legislation specifically exempts pregnant women who have abortions from any criminal charges. In 2000, there were only two abortion providers in the entire state of South Dakota. In that same year, there were 870 women who had abortions in South Dakota.

The anti-abortion sponsors of this bill were very smart targeting just two abortion providers in the state, instead of the 870 women who received abortions.

In effect, the South Dakota legislature is condemning hundreds of women who reside in South Dakota to find abortions elsewhere at significantly increased cost, or to find backroom abortion providers in-state. Poor and low income women will suffer the most if South Dakota is successful in forcing the overturn of Roe v Wade. They are the ones who can least afford to go out of state and who will be forced to find an unsafe and illegal source for an abortion. And what if it is the pregnant women herself who attempts to abort her pregnancy? Will she be exempt from criminal charges?

The South Dakota House of Representatives is attempting to yank hundreds of thousands of American women backwards into the dark ages of unsafe abortion mills, unqualified abortion providers, and unsafe decisions about their own health.

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