I commend SD pro-lifers for their diligence.
In 2006 they introduced a referendum outlawing all abortions except to save a mother’s life. It lost 56-44%. Exit polls showed it would have won had it included exceptions.
(As an aside, it was during this time Oglala Sioux president Cecelia Fire Thunder infamously threatened to open a mill on her reservation should the ban pass, inspiring me to write one of my more controversially received columns, “Sioux tribe plans to scalp its own.”)
Well, prepare for a redux. On April 18 the SD Secretary of State certified 3x the number of petition signatures needed to put a new abortion ban referendum on November’s ballot. This ban will include very tightly worded exceptions for rape, incest, and health.
Bear in mind SD abortionists are currently not obligated to report rape/incest….
But if the referendum passes, the abortionist must report rape/incest to the police before aborting. In the event of incest, there will be legal intervention. The abortionist also must get dna samples from mother and child. False reports will net the abortionist 10 years in prison.
The referendum also requires the abortionist to try to save the child’s life in cases of abortion for life/health of the mother. Noncompliance will net the abortionist 10 years in prison.
The referendum defines health as a “…serious risk of a substantial and irreversible impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system of the pregnant women should the pregnancy be continued and which risk could be prevented through an abortion.”
If aborting for health reasons, the abortionist will be required to submit a detailed report to the SD Dept of Health, providing info our side needs to battle the nebulous “health” exception pro-aborts constantly evoke. SD legislators already have an abortionist on record via deposition stating she never had to abort for health of the mother.
What if it passes?
The other side will certainly immediately sue to enjoin the new law in court, in which case our side is already ready, according to a SD legal source.
The ban will then begin to wind its way through the courts, expected to land on the Supremes’ lap in 2012, according to my source.
Much can happen by then, depending on who wins the presidency. 1 or 2 current Supremes (Ginsburg, Stevens) may have been replaced. If a Dem president has chosen their successors, all is lost for decades anyway. If McCain wins, he has promised to appoint strict constructionists.
But this is all a bit of a crap shoot, obviously. If there are no Supreme changes, there is evidence Kennedy may change his mind. And Scalia, currently 71, shouldn’t be expected to remain on the court forever. So “our best window may very well be 2012,” said my source.
How can the referendum lose?
“There is absolutely no way Planned Parenthood can defeat this bill,” said my source. “Only a splintering of the pro-life community can defeat this bill.”
That’s quite a thought.
Already there is evidence of the feared splintering. Reported LifeNews.com April 23:
South Dakota Right to Life says it can’t back the ban because it can’t endorse a measure that allows abortions even in the very rare cases when a woman is a victim of sexual abuse.
SDRTL President George Dummann told LifeNews.com the ban’s “rape and incest and health-of-the-mother exceptions imply that some babies can be killed.”
Last go-around 2 national pro-life groups opposed the ban, saying the time wasn’t right. Don’t know if they plan to intervene this time. Hope not. I was disappointed in them last time.
Add to that, the ban’s organizer, Leslie Unruh, will not welcome graphic signs, according to the Associated Press:
“My biggest concern is that people will try to come in and tell us what to do. I want it to be our message,” she said. “I have a big problem with dead-baby pictures. That hurt us last time when people from outside the state came in and did that in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. That’s not what we are. That’s not what we’re about.”
In 2006, Unruh also criticized what she called extremist anti-abortion groups that use trucks with large pictures of dead fetuses to spread their message.
All that aside, it will be interesting to see the other side’s arguments this time.
We knew then their rape/incest/health arguments were false fronts. They want nothing less than legalized abortion any time for any reason.
Grand inventors of mistruths that they are, they will certainly not disappoint.
HT: son Tim; photos of sign in SD wheat field and on barn courtesy of US News & World Report; photo of pro-lifers holding graphic signs in SD in 2006 courtesy of MN Public Radio; coathanger graphic courtesy of radio.weblogs.com]