California’s ‘parental consent’ law over-reaches; Pastors organize support for South Dakota abortion ban; Principles of choice, privacy and equality embodied in Roe; Pelosi’s views on abortion in line with most Catholics; Campaigns ramp up competition for women’s votes; VIDEO: Giuliani defends sex ed ad on Meet the Press.
“Protecting” the mental health of women is the latest front in the abortion debate; The state of South Dakota’s second abortion ban attempt; The Oregonian responds to Secretary Leavitt; New England Journal of Medicine reviews PEPFAR five years after inception.
Anti-choicers are circumventing the legislative and judicial systems by placing abortion bans right on the ballot.
Both pro- and anti-choice activists are preparing the state legislative landscape on abortion for the next President and his or her Supreme Court nominees. The right’s latest tactic is the ban-in-waiting — a ban on abortion that springs into effect upon the reversal of Roe.
South Dakota abortion groups on both sides released poll results this week, revealing a divided state and one gearing up for another abortion fight.
Some people think pregnant women who choose abortions must be ignorant, hysterical or under coercion. Thus to prevent abortions they scare, confuse, or shame them—with your tax dollars.
Well, the South Dakota legislature is at it again. Only a few short months after citizens of that state soundly rejected a law that would have made abortion illegal unless a woman's life was at stake, legislators have introduced a slightly more moderate version of the same bill. The new bill provides exceptions in cases of health-threatening as well as life-threatening pregnancies (though doctors seeking to perform abortions for health reasons must seek confirmation from a second doctor that the woman's health is indeed at risk—I wonder how that works in an emergency), as well as pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The bill hasn't yet been approved by the legislature, but its introduction gives us an opportunity to survey the strategic landscape that currently lies before advocates for safe and legal abortion in South Dakota and nationwide.
As a progressive political wave washed across the country yesterday, reproductive justice advocates experienced three major victories. Voters in South Dakota, California, and Oregon rejected ballot measures that would have restricted abortion in their states.
The most publicized ballot measure – the one that would have banned abortion (except to save a woman's life) in South Dakota – was defeated. Sara Stoesz, President of the Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, announced this victory:
Yesterday, tens of thousands of people across the state of South Dakota came together to overturn the most far-reaching abortion ban in many decades. Our coalition of men and women, faith leaders, business professionals and healthcare professionals sent a strong message to their legislators — don't use our state to push an extremist agenda.
Kate Looby is the South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS).
Last week I had a painful experience. Casey Murschel, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice SD, and I faced off at a forum against State Representative Roger Hunt, the prime sponsor of the abortion ban legislation, and Alan Unruh, the spouse of Leslee Unruh, long-time anti-abortion activist and manager of the campaign working to pass Referred Law 6, the abortion ban. The forum was held at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion; however, many people in the audience were not students but rather people from off campus sporting Vote Yes for Life (VYFL) shirts.
While it was not an actual "debate," we each gave opening remarks and then took questions from the audience for approximately forty-five minutes.
One of the unbelievable comments from the supporters of the bill was that there is a "provision" in the law for rape and incest victims because they can use EC up until the time they can get a positive pregnancy test through "conventional medical testing" – at least nine to ten days after sex. When we pointed out that EC is approved by the FDA for use up to 72 hours, Roger Hunt noted that he had drafted the bill to apply not only to current medical technology, but future technology as well. Always the forward thinker he is.
Supporters of anti-choice legislation have sunk to new lows this week. The anti-choice campaign in South Dakota used to rely on distorting the facts, but now they are getting desperate and resorting to bald-faced lies.
First, the proponents of the abortion ban mocked a rape survivor by appearing at a press conference dressed in a Cat in the Hat costume. Then they hid information and launched a TV ad that says referred law 6 has an exception for rape and incest (it does not). Now, their latest TV ad shows doctors supporting the ban, reiterating an exception for "the life and the health of the mother." As Kate Looby and Rep. Murschel previously explained, there are no exceptions to protect women's health in referred law 6. The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families has responded with their own TV ad.