Thursday, March 24, 2011

Women’s rights and the never ending battle over abortion.

Abortion…is there any other subject that evokes such vitriol and division in this county, in our states, in our communities and yes, even within families?  Sometimes I wish Roe v Wade would just be overturned so that this fringe of the Republican Party no longer has a bully pulpit to spew their rhetoric. 
I would venture to guess that most people who are on the side of “Pro Choice” are not in support of  abortion and would  never want to be faced with an unwanted pregnancy and the thought of ever having to contemplate such a procedure in their personal life.  
This debate, however, is about freedom of choice and individual rights for WOMEN.  It is ironic to me that this is the same group that is always citing the importance of individual freedom and limiting government intervention in our financial and personal lives and yet wants to involve themselves in limiting the individual health freedoms for women.  
This is about the rights of a woman whose body is transformed by pregnancy, the one who must labor in birth, the one who becomes in most cases the primary caregiver.   We all wish for the rosy scene of an intact family, a loving husband who provides support both emotionally and financially, but reality sometimes paints another entirely different picture. 

What is a girl to do when faced with the prospect of raising a child on her own without any support from the child’s father, from her family and yes, even the government and general public who look at her in disdain for being a single mother and berate her for being lazy, for not getting a job as she uses food stamps at the local grocery store or pulls out her Medicaid card at the clinic.  We taxpayers love to hate these freeloaders, these mothers and their babies. How do we reconcile these contradictory actions?
We look down on the poor and lower income class.  We decry the use of tax dollars for programs to help women and children.  We moan in disgust at those single women with 2, 3, 4 children with no father in the household to help out.  We sit by and do nothing for homeless families.  We decry that our tax dollars are used for education, for programs that support families and children, for school programs that provide hot meals so kids get at least one or two hot meals a day.  We don’t step up and adopt any of those unwanted children languishing in foster care most of their lives.  We don’t want to fund WIC or Head Start for the economically disadvantaged or Medicaid for the lower income class. How did we become this uncaring nation? 
People don’t want to talk about birth control, contraceptives, or give education to young people to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Families aren’t involved enough with their children providing information about risky behavior to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Goodness, half the time parents are so busy working two and three jobs to support their families; they don’t seem to even know where their kids are or what they are doing.  We give them everything, but our time and attention or an education in morals. Not every family is like this, of course, but not every girl is facing an unwanted pregnancy either. 
Is abortion the answer? I hope not.  Is abortion the alternative to birth control?  I fervently say no.  Will abortion go away after we pass all these laws to restrict it?  No, it won’t.  And it won’t go away when you overturn Roe v Wade either.  It will just be done in secret like it was before.  Let’s just go back to the way abortions were performed prior to Roe v Wade.  Let  the wealthy women who can afford them travel to where ever it is they can easily get one in privacy and let the poor women get them in the back alleys or at home with coat hanger like they used to. Let’s just kill off the mothers instead from botched abortions and infections.
The SD Legislature and Governor Daugaard did a disservice to the citizens of SD who have spoken through the ballot box that they did not support legislative action to restrict women’s rights.  They aren’t listening to the majority.
Half of all states, including SD, already require a 24 hour waiting period. I personally don’t have a problem with that 24 waiting period. SD is the first to require a 3 day waiting period and a trip to a pregnancy help center.  She must now see a physician, then a pregnancy crisis center and then back to the physician again. There is no argument that having an abortion is a gut wrenching decision for any woman.  There is no argument that counseling is important. But, this new law seems to be the personal agenda of Roger Hunt and Leslee Unruh who just happens to have a vested interest in the very pregnancy crisis center women in SD must now be sent to. 

SD is still fighting a lawsuit from the 2005 legislation passed that required a provider to tell a woman that abortion ends a human life and that abortion raises the risk of the woman to suicide.  The AG’s office won’t say how much defending that lawsuit is costing SD, citing “attorney/client” privilege. That statement is so baffling, considering it is being funded by tax dollars, OUR dollars, so aren’t we the client and aren’t we as citizens of the State of SD entitled to know how much of our tax dollars are being spent to defend ANY law that is being challenged in Court and defended by the State of SD Attorney General’s Office!!!!
Leslee Unruh, owner of the Alpha Center, says now that she got this new law passed and signed into law, her next goal is to raise money to defend it in Court.  The SD legislature and Governor passed a law for its citizens knowing it was going to face legal challenge on the premise that Leslee Unruh and Roger Hunt would find private money to defend it?  Does this not seem right to ordinary citizens of this State?
How did we get to the point where religious fanatics have somehow taken over to interfere in our legislative and private lives?  The citizens of SD have voted down these over the top attempts to project their religious beliefs on ordinary citizens and still this legislature passes more laws and the Governor signs the bill against the will of the majority populace. 

This law is a contradiction to the State's majority party position of protecting individual freedom and limiting government intervention in our personal lives.

If the legislature and the Governor believe this law is constitutional, then they should not rely on private money to defend it.  Hypocrisy and poor government at the highest level.


  1. You go girl, you are so right on this and your comments on Sally Felix. You may have wasted time all those years at City Hall, your true calling may have been sitting next to Dave Kranz at the Argus.

  2. Thank you for this. I'm in the process of writing to Gov. Daugaard (not that he'll read my letter, but I'm angry enough about this bill that I need to put it on paper, and I thought something hand-written might stand out more than an email) and many of your same points are ones I was planning on using in my letter.

  3. What is a young girl to do? How about take responsibility for her actions in getting her to the situtaion in which she finds herself. The world isn't perfect but you can't justify killing an unborn baby because of a dead-beat dad or because you perceive this to be an issue about WOMEN's rights. I am a woman, a registered Democrat actually, and I think abortion is disgusting.

    The right we, as women, tend to overlook in this debate is the right to have or not have sex - which guess what....leads to pregnancy.

  4. You've tackled a subject that is ripe with discourse. Abstinence may be a solution in part; but, it is not THE solution. As I have grown older the more anti-abortion I have become. The more precious I view life. However, I remain steadfast in my belief that a woman's right must prevail. No government or state should dictate this decision for any woman.