It’s ba-ack….

South Dakota is at it again. A new abortion ban bill is expected to be revealed today at the state Capitol–and this time around it will have exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the woman. (So generous, I know.)

“Legislators in the House and Senate who did not vote in favor of the bill that was passed last year say that they would support such a bill that had exceptions for rape and incest and clearly defined health exceptions,� [Rep. Don Van Etten, R-Rapid City] said.
…Kate Looby, state director for Planned Parenthood in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, also was in the Capitol on Monday. She said the lawmakers were “ignoring South Dakota voters,â€? who rejected an abortion ban last November.
The only exception in that measure was to save the life of the mother, but Looby said she believed South Dakotans would not accept the new measure either. “I think the people of South Dakota want the government to stay out of this private, personal family matter,� she said.

Let’s hope so. But this is going to mean a change of fighting words on our part. After all, a lot of what pro-choicers talked about when trying to defeat the last ban was the lack of exceptions…
FInd out about the South Dakota “logo” here.

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  • carolina girl

    When reading the comments left by folks there in SD on the news site, my favorite has to be the following:
    Larry wrote on January 30, 2007 6:40 AM:”I believe that if you get an abortion bill, you pay it. No exeptions.”
    I know this isn’t exactly a laughing matter, but I couldn’t help but to laugh at that one!

  • AviMae

    From the SD article page: JA wrote on January 31, 2007 6:21 AM:”The way to stop abortion is to outlaw it. We outlawed DRUGS, and problem solved. Nobody does drugs anymore.”
    Yes, no one does drugs anymore. That’s why there are so many arrests and people in jail with serious drug problems. And also the new rise of the popularity of the drug Crystal Meth. /sarcasm Yes, drug are outlawed and it didn’t stop anyone from doing them though. I almost thought I was reading the discussing from yesterday on Digg from reading that comment.

  • micheyd

    AviMae – surely that one is sarcastic too? Though the line between wingnutty and satirical is becoming very blurry these days…

  • ccall

    I’m one of the people who vigorously pointed to the lack of exceptions in the South Dakota law, but my reasoning, and roundabout way off essentially silencing anti-choicers has always been that if you get someone to agree to the need for exceptions, then you have gotten them to admit that the “abortion is murder� line of reasoning is 100% completely false. You can’t simultaneously claim that a fetus is a person and abortion is murder, yet say that you’ll allow exceptions. Is it okay to murder “a person� if the circumstances of their conception don’t meet your criteria? If it’s truly “a person�, then this “person� cannot be held accountable to the horrible crime of the biological father and be “put to death� for it.
    Curious if anyone has heard/read any anti-choicers explain their willingness to allow exceptions in the context of the “it’s a person� defense of abortion bans. I’ve seen the Bill Napoli defense (embarrassing and bizarre), but would be very interested to hear someone attempt to be rational when explaining this stark contradiction, especially since leading GOP figures take the “it’s murder, but we’ll allow exceptions� stance (Bush, McCain, most prominently).
    I believe that going into a burger shop and mowing down 20 people with an assault weapon is murder and could never allow exceptions, even if somebody had a REALLY bad day. If anti-choicers compare abortion to mowing people down in a burger shop, why can’t they explain their willingness to allow exceptions?
    It seems to me that if you truly believe something is murder, you could never allow exceptions. Unless you don’t *really* believe it….

  • mk

    ccall- While I applaud your attempt to make anti-choicers think about their own line of reasoning more closely, it seems to me that an emphasis on exceptions (or a lack thereof) can be dangerous, as Jessica points out.
    Although the tactic was clearly effective in the recent defeat, combatting an abortion ban by pointing out its lack of exceptions sends the message that a ban with exceptions would be acceptable.

  • Ann

    I’m curious to read the legislation itself, but the bill hasn’t even been introduced yet so it’s not on the SD legislature’s website.

  • patx77

    The rape incest exceptions were a large part of Justice Blackwell’s decision in 1973. That is why pro-birthers were so eager to write them out.
    This could be viewed as a lose-lose situation for pro-birthers, but they will keep chipping away at abortion rights so the fight is far from over.

  • norbizness

    South Dakota has a legislative website? I thought they just tacked announcements to the outside of the Corn Palace and required their literate citizenry to come to Mitchell to read it!
    Immunizing Disclaimer: I am one generation removed from being a South Dakotan. Evidence here.

  • ccall

    mk, I reluctantly agree with you that putting exceptions front and center can send the message that bans with exceptions are okay. Bummer, but you’re right. I think anti-choicers realize they will lose in the court of public opinion nearly every time when they try to pass no-exception bans. So they’ve adjusted their tactic accordingly in order to try and advance their agenda.
    As Jessica said, it will mean new fighting words if these laws with exceptions start passing in state legislatures. I still strongly believe in the logic that “you can’t call it murder but allow exceptions�, and I use it whenever I can because I think it checkmates anti-choicers, but if the end result is a bunch of bans with exceptions, then it’s not being effective. Damn, I hate being right but losing ground at the same time.
    Perhaps more broadly persuasive arguments will come from another direction; maybe the broader public will start to listen to arguments that a woman’s sovereignty over her body is a core issue. Wouldn’t that be something.

  • Lacy Alida


    Abortion is one the most talk about issues throughout centuries. A blog that I found was about the new bill that was being passed in South Dakota. The bill was proposed to reveal that abortion would be accepted only in the cases of rape, health probl…

  • choiceonearth

    I think you’ve got to keep using the language of “keeping the government out” of personal choices. That can do much to win over the traditional political conservatives, such as Arbusto, Sr was once upon a time. I also like the concept of it being a private health care decision between a woman and her doctor. That adds more right to privacy cred.
    It’s crucial that we emphasize that the choice to/to not abort is part of the broader spectrum of safe, equitable (should be equitable at least) health care. If the mainstream can come to understand this and we could remove some of the red tape laws, abortions and other repro health needs could go back under the purview of basic care that you would expect to be provided at any major (non-religious) hospital, thus removing some of this huge need for specialty clinics, which are easily isolated and singled out for attack (literally and in the public’s minds).
    The problem with the woman’s sovereignty over her body argument is that, while it is at heart the most fundamental and, to feminists, winning argument for choice, it is just not something that is truly conceivable to a lot of people, including a good portion of the mainstream marginally pro-choice. In fact, to many, it is downright frightening. Look at the images of women we are surrounded with. Their bodies are almost always the major focus of attention. It is deemed perfectly acceptable and expected for people to comment on who’s hot, who’s not, who needs to diet, who’s got cellulite, who had surgery, whose boobs are bigger, who’s an anorexic, etc. Then look at the movies: man saves woman (from bad guys, from her own emotional issues, whatever), man gets to have sex with woman or get all indignant if she has sex with someone else is a huge, huge theme (and just one that will illustrate this point). In the public eye, a woman’s body is in reality not solely her own dominion.
    We feminists have a lot of work to do in the culture to change this. We are hacking away at it and have been making headway, but we’re nowhere near the finish line yet.