Another step towards abortion ban for US

// 24 February 2006

South Dakota’s state senate has passed a bill banning abortion in all cases, except where the mother will die unless the procedure takes place. There is no exception for cases of rape, incest or where carrying the pregnancy to term would damage the woman’s health.

AlterNet reports that the ban is the most direct challenge yet to Roe v Wade since the last spate of appointments changed the political make-up of the Supreme Court. And there are a list of other states waiting in the wings, who will introduce similar bans if this law makes it to the statute books.

If the South Dakota ban becomes law, it will face an aggressive challenge in the courts. But, as everyone is, by now, well aware, the courts have changed a great deal since the last time they weighed the basic question of whether women will have a right to make decisions with regard to the termination unwanted pregnancies.

Just how dramatically unwanted a pregnancy might be is of little concern to the South Dakota legislators who backed the ban. While a narrow exception was allowed for procedures that would save the life of a pregnant woman, the South Dakotans rejected amendments to the bill that would have provided exceptions in the case of rape or incest or serious threats to the health and well-being of the woman.

Representative Hunt was blunt about why he and other took a hard line: Providing protections in “special circumstances” — such as cases where children are raped — would have diluted the bill and muddied the push for a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe.

There are no words – we just have to wait and hope that the Supreme Courts don’t have the temerity to abolish the right of one half of the population to control their own bodies.

It is clear right-wing extremists can sense a victory.

Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the militantly anti-choice Christian Defense Coalition, said he saw the foundations of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision crumbling and announced that, “With several states waiting in the wings to ban abortion, momentum is clearly building nationwide to overturn Roe.”

Let’s hope they’ve over-estimated support for such a retrogressive step. Meanwhile, the rights of women in South Dakota are already being strained to breaking point – AlterNet reports it is one of three states with only ONE abortion provider. One provider, to service a population of 775,933 spread out over 199,905 km\xB2.

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