I saw a draft of the new abortion ban bill last Friday, but didn’t say anything about it because it was still undergoing some changes and not yet ready for public consumption. However, it appears from reports over the last 24 hours that the cat is at least partially out of the bag already, so I’ll offer some thoughts.
If it comes out essentially unchanged from what it was on Friday, it’s a bill I can fully endorse. My only caveat is that last year’s bill was my #1 choice, being more consistent from a pro-life and scientific perspective, since all human life is sacred, no matter how it was conceived.
This one is intended to have exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother. While traditionally these exceptions have been big enough to drive the space shuttle through, this draft has those exceptions very tightly regulated to prevent misuse and abuse.
The health exception was worded in such a way that it would only allow for a truly serious health issue, not simply “Gee, I’m really upset that I’m pregnant so that threatens my mental health so here, kill it.”
The rape exception would only allow a certain amount of time after the crime to report the rape. The child also couldn’t be aborted past a certain gestational period (I don’t know if any of this has changed, that’s why I’m avoiding specifics). Police reports must be filed, and certain other procedures accomplished so that identifying the rapist is facilitated.
The incest exception is similarly worded, with minor and appropriate variation.
While I believe this type of bill ignores the fact that the child conceived in rape/incest is just as sacred as any other child, we tried our best to get the best bill passed last year, yet some people would not have it.
Having made the best attempt and failed, I can fully support this as the next best option. After all, it would save more than 96% of children that would otherwise be aborted, since the latest SD abortion statistics show that the “serious health damage” was a factor in only 2.7% of abortions and rape/incest was the reason for only 1.1% of abortions in the state in 2005.
It isn’t the best, but given the choice of saving 96% of the children and saving 0% of the children, I’ll take the 96%.
Remember, the vast majority of South Dakotans pined last year that “Oh, if only it had exceptions for rape and incest…” Well, they won’t have a leg to stand on this year. They won’t have that excuse to hide behind again.
If their real intent is to simply keep abortion on demand available (as it certainly was for many), they’ll have to come out in the open this time and reveal their true motives.
Our political arena and our country in general would be a much better place if there was more transparency in motives. But then that’s too much to expect, because evil always wants to work in the dark; it’s the only place it can thrive.