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.
There's a fantastic article on Alternet right now called "Reflections from a Former Anti-Abortion Activist" – a must-read for those on both sides of the abortion debate. The article, written by the intelligent, thoughtful, and truly pro-life Elizabeth Wardle, is an excerpt from the recently published Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice. If this article is any indication, the book may not be a bad investment, especially for those who believe that the best way to move forward amidst the current political deadlock on abortion is to broaden, rather than narrow, the conversation.
Wardle's story isn't particularly shocking or sensational: growing up, she was a self-described "chaste, Christian, small-town, pro-life teenager from a happy home with two parents." She began to rethink her views on abortion when she arrived at college-she encountered points of view on sex and gender that were different from the ones she grew up with, her classes raised her historical and social consciousness, and she started to seriously contemplate what she would do, as a girl coming from a fundamentalist Christian family, if she accidentally got pregnant. Slowly, through a combination of empathy, contemplation, and pragmatism, her rigid views on the unacceptability of abortion for all women changed, and she now considers herself pro-choice.
Casey Murschel is the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and a state legislator.
By now, I'm sure most of you have heard about the role that my state, South Dakota, is playing in the most recent attack on reproductive freedom and privacy. With Referred Law 6, the voters of South Dakota will have a chance to repeal a ban on nearly all abortions- including in cases of rape and incest. Early polling shows most South Dakotans are ready to repeal the ban, so the ban's supporters are launching a deceptive ad campaign.
While there are many different misleading statements in this ad, I'd like to focus on what I see as one of the worst, and try to dispel this deceptive message. The ad claims, "Victims of rape and incest can still access the best options for medical care, compassion and justice and this can include the morning after pill."
Kate Looby is the South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS).
The one thing we have learned in the South Dakota fight against the ban on nearly all abortions is that our opponents will stop at nothing to keep the ban in place. In recent weeks a 13 year old boy showed up at a press conference dressed up as the Cat in the Hat. His message was the Seuss line that "a person's a person no matter how small." Unfortunately, the press conference he showed up at was one in which a victim of rape was courageously telling her story and instead of showing respect to the victim, the ban supporters tried to turn it into a circus.
In case you missed it, NewsHour did a segment on the South Dakota anti-abortion law that voters will considered in a ballot initiative this fall. It’s from March of this year.
As we get closer to the election, things are heating up in the campaign to defeat the South Dakota abortion ban. This morning I attended a briefing sponsored by the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families (SDCHF), NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). Leaders from these organizations discussed the progress of the campaign, the implications that it has for other states and the nation, and gave a preview of the campaign's second TV ad.
Kate Looby is the South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). With this post she begins a regular series of updates she will provide RH Reality Check about the South Dakota ballot initiative.
The voters of South Dakota are being asked to decide whether or not they support a near total ban on abortion in our state. The only exception in the ban is to save the life of the woman. Section 3 of the bill which passed through the legislature and which Governor Rounds signed last winter does allow for the use of contraception – most of us weren't aware that we needed permission from the legislature to use birth control, but the opponents of legal abortion found it necessary to mention that in the bill.
The advertising has begun in South Dakota for the No on Six campaign, attempting to repeal that state's restrictive abortion ban passed by the legislature. The first ad from South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families (SDCHF) introduces the prohibition on abortion and asks if "the victim of rape or incest should be left with no option" or "the mother whose health would be seriously threatened" and concludes "it just goes too far."