South Dakota, those on both sides of the abortion debate agree, has become one of the hardest states in the country in which to obtain an abortion. One of three states in the country to have only one abortion provider -- North Dakota and Mississippi are the others -- South Dakota, largely because of a strong antiabortion lobby, is also becoming a leading national laboratory for testing the limits of state laws restricting abortion, both opponents and advocates of abortion rights say.
I understand people's opposition to abortion. I really do. I understand that they don't differentiate between a fetus and a baby and so, to them, abortion is murder. I disagree with them, but I understand. However, they're in the distinct minority when it comes to cases where the woman has been raped or is in mortal danger, yet they are succeeding in preventing abortions in those cases as well:
South Dakota is home to some of the poorest counties in the country, including the poorest, Buffalo County, seat of the Crow Creek Sioux reservation. State law forbids any public funding for the $450 procedure, even in the case of rape or incest. Beyond cost, there is the distance. It's a long slog here from places like Rapid City, about 350 miles away in the western part of the state. For some women, the only way to do it -- and not pay for a hotel room -- is to make the 700-mile trip in one day...
Even women in a medical or life-threatening emergency have only one hospital to go to that will perform an emergency abortion, she added. "One hospital. In the entire state, again in Sioux Falls."
In addition to have many laws limiting abortion in South Dakota, there is a tremendous stigma on doctors performing abortion:
Looby, whose father is an obstetrician-gynecologist, said she has talked to many doctors in South Dakota who say they have no personal objection to performing abortions but cannot risk their careers and community standing by offering the procedure.
If you oppose abortion, perhaps you can agree with me that it should be available in emergencies and for cases of rape. If you support a woman's right to choose, you should realize that opponents may not need to overturn Roe v. Wade to effectively eliminate almost all legal abortion.