South Dakota’s biggest failure

I’ve read quite a few things about the South Dakota law banning abortion – the one that currently sits on Governor Mike Rounds’ desk waiting to be passed or vetoed. And, quite frankly, I’ll never understand it.

I’ll never be able to understand it as a pro-choice liberal. This act reeks of a vocal minority taking advantage of a spineless Democratic party. It’s an act that overtakes a well-known precedent. It’s horrible to think that any governmental body has the power to choose an actual flesh and blood body’s purpose – to dictate what people can do to themselves.

I’ll never understand it as a fan of South Dakota. I’ve supported South Dakota through Zip Feed-bashing and anti-plains comments, but this is a black eye that I’ll never be able to apply any layer of gloss to.

Ultimately, I’ll never be able to understand it as a caring husband, a possible future father, a friend. If my wife, my daughter, or my friend was raped, there could be no abortion. There could be nothing, unless it was to be done under the table, in unsafe conditions, with the illegality of it hanging over both parties’ heads. You want morality? You tell me the morality of giving birth to a child that was conceived through the most heinous means possible.

My basic beliefs on abortion should be obvious. First off, I don’t believe a man should be allowed to vote on what a woman can or can’t do with her own body. I also don’t believe that life begins at conception – I’m in the party that believes it’s about 26 weeks, when the fetal brain’s higher functions are first activated and the fetus attains consciousness.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not clamoring for everyone to start getting abortions. I’m not an advocate of using abortions as a means of birth control. However, I think it’s ridiculous for some legislative body to have any control over it. And for a state to ban abortions even in the case of rape is enough to make my blood boil.

I can’t expound on this subject any better than any of the other hundreds of articles out there – in fact, I stay away from politics for this very reason: I’m not fully functional as a political speaker. I leave that for the crew at Clean Cut Kid or Dakota War College.

I did read a good opinion piece today, though, that got me to thinking about the abortion bill. There could be some good that comes from this – it might set the Democrats off. Roe vs. Wade was not perfect. Something needs to happen – something to replace the Surpreme Court ruling.

From AKG’s Newsvine piece:

Our mistakes have been many. First, we left it up to the Supreme Court to protect abortion, instead of winning the public debate and protecting the procedure through legislation, as should have been the case. Leaning on the crutch of Roe v. Wade (a bad ruling and an example of what happens when the Court decides to wing it) for 33 years has made us legally, morally, and rhetorically weak, and America’s intelligence has suffered for it.

Now, perhaps by the grace of God, the good state of South Dakota has passed a CRAZY law (yes, in caps!) that tempts our now conservative Court to do what it should probably do anyway: toss out an idiotic ruling. No doubt there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Union tonight. But tomorrow morning we have the responsibility to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and finish off this culture war once and for all.

America is ripe for an intelligent public debate on the issue of abortion, if for no other reason than it has never been done, and personally, I’m convinced that in an intelligent public debate, Democrats will win handily. I offer my pointers for how to do this:

This could be the deciding factor in creating a stronger liberal presence in this country. It might get the Democrats thinking that they should ultimately be following their party line: compassion, liberalism – an idea that the country could actually work for lower classes, for single mothers, for the artistic, the independent, the non-profit. An idea that this country could still go through it’s own renaissance, where people are treated as they should be: with dignity and honor, regardless of who you are.

If this isn’t the item that can kick the Democratic Party in the ass and get them fired up about taking back control of this country, then I don’t really think there’s any chance in hell that they ever will. And until something happens, you can bet this country will slowly recede like some senator’s hairline – right back over the bald hump of practicality and into the waiting arms of uncompassionate conservatives.

Personally, I think our world might gain quite a bit if people would stop worrying about when life begins and start worrying about the people that are already alive – the human beings that have fallen through the cracks, that have been victims of rape, of racism, of sexism, of a never ending cycle of poverty, and (most importantly) of the indifference of the handful of powerful people that actually rule this country. Maybe something truly intelligent can come from this.

Unfortunately, I won’t be holding my breath.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 25th, 2006