South Dakota Really Does Not Like Safe, Legal Abortion


South Dakota passes most restrictive abortion law in the country, and the threat of anti-choice terrorism is growing. Also, a cute new chapbook tells you all you need to know about your cycle, and then some.

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A message from vagina havers

South Dakota requires abortion patients to suffer religious propaganda

Strictest abortion law in the country

More from the Young Turks

The ACLU is on it

Legalizing terrorism?

Man arrested for firebombing a Planned Parenthood

Rand Paul’s poop matters more than your life

On this episode of Reality Cast, Laura Szumowski will talk about her new chapbook that’s all about menstruation.  Also, South Dakota passes an outrageous restriction on abortion, and the anti-choice terrorism threat is only growing.

My buddy Katie Halper and the folks at Second City put together a video demanding that straight men who like getting laid care about women’s reproductive rights.

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I think it’s helpful never to forget that our opposition is fundamentally anti-sex. That’s like being against roller coasters and drinking beer on the weekends.  It’s just downright un-American.

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I’m getting sick of the word “unprecedented”.  I just have to use it over and over again lately, in the phrase “unprecedented attack on women’s rights”. It just comes up over and over and over again lately. But with the latest news from South Dakota, I can modify the phrase to “an audacious and unprecedented attack on women’s rights and religious freedom.”  On Tuesday, the South Dakota governor signed this bill into law.

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Okay, there’s three things here.  This is an assault on access, privacy, and freedom of religion.  The access angle is the most obvious, I think, to listeners of this podcast.  Making women wait 3 days and file all this paperwork is going to be horrible even for those living in a town with an abortion provider, but for those who have to travel to get abortions, this will be unbelievably burdensome.  Especially if they’re poor or have children, which is the case in many to most abortion situations. The Young Turks described why it would be such a massive hassle.

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I’ll add that it’s not just the hassle, but also the expense that’s at stake.  That’s hotel and child care and gas money for three days at least, and that’s likely to triple and in many cases quadruple the price of an abortion.  For many women, just getting the money together for the abortion is a life-altering hassle, and exponentially raising the price is completely immoral.  In addition, the doctors who do abortions in South Dakota have to fly in to do so, so this would require them to fly in twice a week instead of once a week, which might be too much of a burden on already over-taxed providers.  The ugly truth is that this is probably enough to wipe out Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide abortions in South Dakota, which means women in South Dakota will have to travel even farther and pay even more money to get abortions. 

But this is about way more than that.  This is also an unprecedented attack on privacy and religious freedom.  Here’s more from the Young Turks on that:

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Let’s talk about the lecture that you’re going to get at a crisis pregnancy center for a minute.  Most, and probably all crisis pregnancy centers are Christian organizations that oppose abortion for religious reasons.  They may not say “Jesus” to you, but what they’re dishing out is religious dogma. Which means that South Dakota is now requiring women to submit to religious indoctrination if they want to access a right guaranteed to all.  If this is confusing, consider what it must be like to be Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist and be led into a Christian organization to have a Christian church lady lecture you about how you aren’t living up to her Christian values.  She doesn’t need to say “Jesus” or “Christian” for you to get the message.  I fail to see how this isn’t a violation of the establishment clause. 

It’s also a privacy-violating law.  Crisis pregnancy centers aren’t medical facilities, so they aren’t controlled by HIPAA regulations, which means that after they take your name and address and reason for abortion and your doctor’s info, they are under no legal obligation to keep that information private.  We already know that anti-choicers have gone to great lengths to create and pass around lists of women who’ve had abortions, both with Phill Kline of Kansas and in the day to day photographing of license plates at abortion clinics.  What are they going to do if they can use crisis pregnancy centers to create these lists?

Luckily, this is so egregious that I think that it probably will be hard for South Dakota to defend it in court. 

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Well, these hopes are going to play out.  The ACLU has joined with Planned Parenthood to fight this law, and as I detailed here, between the access issues, the religious freedom violations, and the privacy violations, they have substantial grounds with which to pick this fight.

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insert interview

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David Pakman on his show spells out how serious the mainstreaming of terrorism against abortion providers is getting.

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And it’s not just rhetorical.  It’s turning into legislation.

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The problem is that the violence we’re referring to is hardly theoretical.  And it’s not just because of the murder of Dr. George Tiller two years ago and the fact that his murderer tried to use justifiable homicide as a defense.  The threats to clinics and to doctors are ongoing.  Just check out this story out of California that is definitely not getting the press it deserves. A man named Donny Eugene Mower was recently arrested for a string of violent acts.

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The bomb caused enough damage to close the clinic for two days, but luckily no one was hurt.  That said, the note that was left indicated that there was an intention for bodily harm, as it read “Let’s see if you can burn just as well as your victims,” which I think is a reference to fetuses, even though they aren’t burned in the abortion procedure.  I don’t expect fact-based analysis from terrorists, though. 

It’s important to note that Mower was just as, if not more interested in terrorizing a local mosque as he was the Planned Parenthood in Madera.  The polite fiction that anti-choicers, even the violent ones, are just really very pro-life has failed again to account for the actual behavior of anti-choicers.  There’s nothing about wild-eyed bigotry against Muslims that is compatible with the supposed soft, sweet, loving beliefs that anti-choicers claim they have.  But it is perfectly seamless if you assume that anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-choice hysteria are rooted in the same right wing authoritarianism that puts white Christian men over everyone else, and believes that everyone else can go along with it or go hang. 

But Amanda, you might be protesting, this was one lone and obviously crazy guy.  Surely you’re not saying that the people who claim to be squishy fetus lovers generally come from the same group of people who push rabid anti-Muslim bigotry? Except yes, I am saying that.  And I can prove it.  For instance, while the news about this and other domestic terrorism attempts was being mostly ignored by the mainstream media, Rep. Peter King was holding kangaroo court hearings about radical Islam and pretending that domestic terrorism isn’t a problem because that would undermine his insinuations that Muslims are inherently violent.  The same anti-Muslim Peter King is also anti-choice, getting a 0% rating from NARAL. 

But wait, there’s more evidence of this link!

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But Oklahoma is just one of many states that has either banned or is trying to ban sharia law.  These efforts are an excellent bellweather for anti-Muslim bigotry, since there is not and never has been a threat of sharia law taking over the country.  And if you look at the map of states that consider the non-existent threat of sharia law to be a priority, and cross reference it with states that have the most anti-choice laws, you’ll find that they’re one and the same.  In fact, South Dakota, which has passed a law requiring you to suffer Christian indoctrination to get an abortion, is one of the states that is trying to ban sharia law. 

And that’s where we’re at as a nation because of the capitulation to right wing hysteria. Everyone is up in arms about Muslim terrorism, which is real but is generally less common than Christian terrorism.  But that’s getting mostly ignored while states that are often marketing themselves as soft on domestic terrorism are also trying to stomp out the non-existent threat of sharia law.  Some days I look at this situation and think that something has got to give.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, think about the toilets edition.  Sen. Rand Paul, in an energy committee hearing, went off on how unfair it is that women get to choose not to have their bodies distended and vaginas ripped open with childbirth if they don’t want, but sometimes he has to flush twice if he hasn’t been getting his fiber.

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It’s worth noting that Paul is actually pro-forced childbirth.  So what he’s really saying here is that his ability to drop a load in a larger amount of water than is really necessary is more important than your ability to determine your finances, your future, you choice in marriage and a sexual partner, and your choice in how big your family is.  In other words, a woman’s entire life matters less to Paul than the five minutes he takes in the bathroom. 

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte