Sunday, February 26, 2006

Abortion Rights becoming a state-by-state battle.

Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for the last thirty-three years, but it will likely be set aside by the fall of 2006 when South Dakota's recent complete ban on abortion is contested, then accepted by the O'Connor-free Supreme Court. The Washington Post covers one facet of that upcoming battle, the fight over Plan B contraceptives that has been occuring in nearly every state legislature. Plan B contraceptives can serve as an effective way to avoid pregnancy after contraceptive systems failed or were forgotten during intercourse, and also for women who were raped.

NARAL has a handy per-state bill-tracker if you feel like goosing your state legislator into doing the right thing on bills in your state. Naturally, there are a wide variety of pro-choice and anti-abortion bills to look into. South Dakota's anti-abortion law law is listed, but of course, it's just waiting for the Governor's vote, so unless you have pictures of Gov. Mike Rounds with a live boy or a dead girl, it's going to become law. As you probably know, Jane Hamsher has had it with NARAL, because of their continued, inexplicable support of the jelly-spined Lincoln Chafee and the contemptible, fake Democrat Joe Lieberman. But they don't seem to be screwing this battle up too badly in this area.

I'm too numb to be sad about the loss of Roe v. Wade, since I've been expecting it since Bush's election. This is what the majority of people voted for in 2004, and by god, they're going to get it, no matter how many young women die, no matter how many unwanted children are born. And once they get rid of Roe v. Wade, they can go after Griswold v. Connecticut and Lawrence v. Texas, because no matter how much the right wing talks about unborn lives, what they really care about sex.

Sex is what the right wing finds deeply disturbing, as shown by the provisos of "except in the case of rape or incest" that they usually stick on their anti-abortion laws. That proviso is not actually present on the South Dakota law, which some pro-choice people have incorrectly viewed as a sign of an even more inhumane law. It's not: this is actually intellectual consistency. The law against abortion is wrong because women should have complete control over their own bodies, not because it declines to include an exception for "innocent" pregnant women. To bring up the "rape and incest" omission as a flaw is to silently buy into the definition of "innocent" pregnant women.

I see no quick or happy to end to this. This issue will fester on in the United States for years. Ultimately, once federal protections for abortion end, the blue states will pass reasonable pro-choice legislation, and the red states will pass the opposite. Middle class women will travel where they must to get abortions, while the women who die or have unwanted children will be the poor and the resourceless. It's an old story. The middle-class has permitted the erosion of abortion rights for the poor for two decades now, so no one should be too surprised.

Update: Whoah, Plan B is also an organization by organization battle. Editors of a pharmaceutical journal in Canada were fired after they wrote articles discussing this issue.


Anonymous wrd said...

The way things used to be: Free State and Slave State. Now we'll have: Abortion State and NonAbortion State (which goes along with Blue State-Red State, I suppose). How many countries are we running here?

Monday, 27 February, 2006  
Blogger Shotgun Toting Nascar Driving Jesus said...

One of the ironic by-products of a Roe-free US is that rather than quell the abortion debate it will only enflame the situation. There will be a whole new set of judicial arguments to be had once it is up to the states, e.g. can a woman in an abortion free state travel to one where it is legal? What other contraceptive measures might be considered illegal as well? To what degree will the relationship bet. doctrs-legislators in an abortion-free state be bound by HIPAA? Also what other privacy laws will be rendered illegal if this is interpreted as there not being a right to privacy in the constitution? The list goes on....

Tuesday, 28 February, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

Sing it. That's absolutely true. In addition to the legal issues, it will also inflame electoral politics. Both pro- and anti- pols prefer to avoid the issue in public, and send out coded messages, or messages under the wire to their faithful. in a post-Roe world, voters will be grilling the candidates for their views. A lot more heat.

Tuesday, 28 February, 2006  

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