Feb 19, 2007
In January, South Dakota legislators with Christian fundamentalist backing proposed a bill that would effectively ban women’s access to abortion. The sponsors of the bill claim that there are exceptions to the ban in cases of rape and incest. But the new bill puts so many restrictions on how such cases would be handled, that abortion would become almost impossible – the exact object of this bill. At the same time, doctors who perform abortions would face a 10-year prison sentence.
The bill passed in the South Dakota House of Representatives, 45 to 25, on February 14. It now goes to the South Dakota Senate.
Just last year, the voters of South Dakota had organized a fight against another bill restricting abortion. Instead of going through the courts, they put a referendum on the November ballot about the previous anti-abortion bill. And, in a supposedly conservative state, largely rural with military bases, people voted down the anti-abortion bill by a wide margin: 56% to 44%.
The message was clear: people don’t want the authorities, state and church, sticking their noses into very private decisions. Obviously that hasn’t stopped the “holy and pious” religious fundamentalists and their political allies from coming right back again to hold a gun to the heads of women choosing abortion and doctors choosing to help them.
We don’t know what the South Dakota Senate will do – faced with an angry reaction – but clearly, if these religious fanatics had their way, they would impose a dictatorship over the population, in the name of supposed “righteousness.”