Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Abortion is All But Gone in South Dakota

Until I read this article in today's Washington Post, I had no idea how successful opponents to abortion have already been in some states.

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.

37 comments:

Laura said...

This, combined with the horror stories of Sioux women being raped by racist townsfolk in places like Rapid City and/or having forced sterilizations if they have their baby in a white hospital is just sick. I don't know if it's still as bad as it was, but Sioux women used to be warned not to go to Rapid City alone.

A Christian Prophet said...

I've never opposed abortion until recently when the Holy Spirit's messages on The Holy Inheritance blog and The Christian Prophet blog have been convincing me that there are so many adoption alternatives and even in the case of rape there is spiritual damage to the mother who aborts her child.

Jewish Atheist said...

A Christian Prophet,

What about if the mother's life is in danger?

Wandering Coyote said...

A Christian Prophet: I would think it's just as spiritually damaging for a rape victim to be forced into birthing a child that resulted from such violation.

asher said...

The common response is that most people are against abortion except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the mother. That's kind of intellectually currupt. A fetus is a fetus. You either agree that it's a life or you don't.

I think the more interesting stat would be to find out how many pregnancies are actually the result of incest or rape. It's a number I've never seen.

oracle25 said...

I agree, life should never be aborted. Consider this if you disagree with me: A fetus has all the information of a person in there DNA it just hasn't been decoded yet, I cannot see how someone could believe that this is not life. I think life is sacred no matter what. Rape in incest is horrible, but it doesn't mean we should disregard the child that never had a chance to live. I just can't understand how anyone could support an unborn fetus being thrown away like a rag doll.

Wandering Coyote said...

JA: I totally am going to regret this, but...

I imagine this wouldn't be such an issue if we lived in a matriarchal society.

I agree that a life is a life. A heartbeat is a heartbeat. But it grows in my body and if I don't want it there I believe I have the ultimate right to decide whether or not I wish to continue the pregnancy. It's on my conscience and no one else's. And I don't believe in God.

My theory around why this is such a big issue is this: some men are probably threatened by the fact that women have this control over their reproductive systems. It is a uniquely female power, and that's frightening. To be fair, this power probably scares a lot of women, too. Just a theory...

Stacey said...

How depressing. We may not even need Alito for a woman's choice to be eroded.

JDHURF said...

Wandering Coyote,

Good post. Isn’t it odd that opponents of abortion are also the same fundamental Christians that believe that women belong in the kitchen where they knit cloths, bake bread, raise children, and serve the man?
And what is this pro-life pro-choice nonsense? It’s not that I’m not pro-life, I am; I would just like for women’s rights to not be denigrated by a politico-religious faction. To say that being pro-choice is not also pro-life is insane. I am pro-choice and against the death penalty, where as the majority of these, supposedly, pro-lifers are also pro death penalty. What a euphemism!!

Laura said...

WC - I think you're absolutely correct. Women's bodies are often used as the moral battleground in patriarchal societies. We look at the Middle East and gawk at how they treat their women- but the standards and traditions that allow them to treat them that way are the same here, they're just more subtle.

The choice should be left up to each individual woman (and her partner if he is fit to participate in the discussion). How is it anyone else's business at all?

And why is it that a lot of these anit-abortion nutcases are also against contraception? You don't like abortion, fine - then give us a safe, effective means to prevent pregnancy. Or are we all supposed to wait around for the perfect man to come save us and carry us to our destiny of motherhood? Fuck that.

Kyaroko said...

Self-proclaimed Christian Prophet.... I am curious what you believe would be the damage to the spirit of a child born to a mother who does not want her/him?

oracle25 said...

Wandering Coyote, Stacey, Laura: I love it when militant feminists try to turn the issue of abortion around and accuse men of being somehow sexist because they don't want women to kill there baby's. You people just are incapable of getting over the idea that you are being somehow cheated by not being able to murder you child.

As for it being only the women's business (btw, Laura, I believe your idea of a partner being "fit" to help decide, is said person supporting abortion) I believe this to be extremely ignorant. The baby depends on YOU to protect it, I cannot understand how any humane person could just turn around and say "because it's growing in my body I have the right to kill it". Can you think of any more selfish thing to say?

jdhurf: There is absolutely no parallel that can be made between abortion and the death penalty. Abortion is the heartless murder of a child, Death Penalty is just punishment for those convicted of unspeakable crimes.

Wandering Coyote said...

Oracle25 said: I think life is sacred no matter what.

Oracle25 later said: Abortion is the heartless murder of a child, Death Penalty is just punishment for those convicted of unspeakable crimes.

Please explain the blatent contradiction.

Laura said...

Oracle: I love it when militant republicans get so worked up that they can't be bothered to proof read their comments.

I think you're probably the only person in the world that would categorize me as "militant". It just shows you don't know what you're talking about.

I have always maintained that if you are against abortion, then don't have one. Teach your children not to have one.

Abortion isn't just about "selfish" women. Women's control of their own fertility and sexual/reproductive rights is a cornerstone of women's equality. Look at places where women are most oppressed, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa - all of these regions have in common high fertility rates. When women are given no choices in their own reproductive rights, then they are more at risk of other forms of oppression. They are kept economically dependent on men, they are chained to their homes, they are paid less, their work is less valued, and often they suffer higher mortality rates. Contraception and free choice is a major component to giving women access to the public spheres of politics, economics, the workforce and education.

Wandering Coyote said...

Laura: Very well stated; I couldn't have said it better myself.

I am the furthest thing from "militant" myself.

Militant Republican MALES, like Oracle, need to realize that the empowerment of women is the key to bringing balance and peace to the world, not masculine endeavours such as war and imperialism. And in order for a woman to be empowered, one of the key things she requires is complete control over her destiny - which includes (but isn't limited to, obviously) complete control over her reproductive system.

Stacey said...

Militant feminist?? LMAO!! I am neither. (I'm not even a registered Democrat). Bravo to what Laura and Wandering Coyote have said. This dude has flown off his rocker. Too bad he is indicative of right-wing males.

Sadie Lou said...

I fail to see how the actions of adults are the fault of the unborn.
A man, in sin, rapes a woman: She in turn puts a stop to a life in progress. One bad move deserves another, I suppose?
Is a woman so uncapable of loving a child born to her through a violation? If that was true--there would be a lot of unloved children wandering around stemming from divorce or spousal abuse.

Laura said...

Sadie: What you say may be true for some women. However, for others, the child would be a constant reminder of something that they need to forget and move on from. There would be no closure. Also, you're forgetting the persistent use of rape and genocidal rape in warfare - should the Bosnian and Serbian women (raped by both sides to clease the other) be forced to bear those children? And of course there's the traditional societal problems of truly patriarchal societies where a woman who is raped and has no choice but to have the child is then un-marriageable and is often killed for being dishonored.

All of these problems are linked together, you can't take them piecemeal. We forget when we debate abortion that it's not just about "selfish" middle class American women. It's about all women everywhere, under all circumstances.

I also have to ask again, because no one answered before - why are so many who are against abortion also against emergency contraception and general contraception? Why not support what helps prevent what you see as murder?

I, for instance, do not want children - it's something I've thought long and hard about. To some, that makes me some kind of freak. I do my best to find a safe, effective contraception method short of surgery (the only fully effective option for women). If something were to fail, I'd have no second thoughts. We are not planning for children (emotionally or economically), there's no way we could properly support a child, and finally, we don't want one. Is it selfish that I put more thought into not wanting kids than most people put into having them? That I put my own body and health in danger because that is the only effective method of contraception available to me?

oracle25 said...

WC: There is no contradiction in those comments. In fact they support each other. Those who cannot respect others sacred life should not have the the right to keep they're own. This is also one of the reasons animals don't have rights.

To all three of those stacked up against me: I am under no pressure to prove that you are militant feminists, your own comments prove that you are.

Furthermore, If you believe that the only way a women can have control over her reproductive system is to be able to butcher whatever is growing in their, than I suppose there really is no equality for women according to me. Well, so be it.

To Laura: Surgery is not the only way to insure that you won't get pregnant.

Laura said...

Oracle: Really? Please enlighten me on the other options available that are 100% effective. I'm DYING to know where they've been hiding...

Wandering Coyote said...

Laura: I think Oracle is referring to abstinence (i.e. expecting you to repress your sexuality).

Laura said...

Ooooh, I thought maybe he was going to exhort the virtues of anal...

Sadie Lou said...

Laura--
I have no clue as to why people who are against abortion are also against birth control. I'm assuming, based on conversations I've had with people who are against birth control, that it's about having faith in God vs. taking the matter into your own hands. The bible also says that children are a blessing--and who wouldn't want blessings?
That's NOT my opinion though.
I'm just telling you what I've heard.
Also, you said:
"for others, the child would be a constant reminder of something that they need to forget and move on from. "
My answer to that is that the love and the bond between mother and child can transcend the vilolence that created the child.
I honestly and truly believe that God would honor and bless a woman with the supernatural ability to love the child regaurdless of the situation--the child, you'll remember, is blameless.

Wandering Coyote said...

Laura: never thought of that, though it fits.

Sadie: I absolutely agree when you said that the mother/child bond can transcend the violence that created the child. But only if there is the will to do so, and only if the mother chooses to do so. And those would be the women choosing not to abort.

One more thing to add to this conversation:

There are millions of babies all over the world languishing in horrific conditions in orphanages. I think it's all very well and good to expect a woman to not abort and adopt out instead, but really - there are so many babies out there with no parents, no resources and little hope; these are the already born that need the love of an adopted family. Why bring more into the world if it can be prevented?

oracle25 said...

I don't know. There are a lot of poor people in the world too who live in bad conditions. Maybe we should just kill all of them so they don't have to suffer anymore.

Sadie Lou said...

Wandering--
You said, "...only if they have the will to do so." I'm saying that even if their "will" tells them this baby is unwanted because of the way she got pregnant but if she goes against the grain of her emotions and chooses to keep it, God would most likely honor that choice and bless the relationship because of her difficult choice.
Therefore,
I believe that abortion should always be illegal as a form of birth control--in medical cases, each case should be weighed and decided based on medical dilemmas. Abortion should never be allowed for reasons like,"We're just not ready to have a baby"
The answer to that is in the past tense: "Then you weren't ready for sex."

Oracle makes a valid point about the homeless....

Laura said...

Sadie & Oracle: Both of you are eluding that the only purpose of sex is procreation. i.e. you have to be ready for a baby if you want to have sex. Abstinence is 100% effective. To me, that reduces humans to mere animals- something that goes against Christian doctrine (that humans are special). Most animals have sex for purely functional purposes. Humans have a complex psyhological and emotional attachment to the act of sex, this makes sex more that just mere procreation. Someone like myself, who is married, who is "ready" for sex, but just does not want children deserves an effective, and safe form of birth control. To imply that I'm not ready for sex is asinine. And to say that if my method of choice should fail that I should have no options but to have a child is to reduce me to the level of a child - unable to think for myself or to know what is best for me. It's that kind of paternalistic attitude that keeps women subordinate.

Wandering Coyote said...

Oracle certainly DOES NOT make a valid point about the orphans, yet I am not surprised his type of logic would compell him to write such an asinine statement.

While I agree that abortion should not take the place of personal responsibility, it's really not fair to take the choice away from some and not others. Again though: whose conscience is this on? No one else's but the woman's (and her partner, if applicable).

Laura: Agree 100%.

Sadie Lou said...

Laura--
it's so simple-stupid.
Sex makes babies and that is it's primary function.
Creating babies is not an after thought or secondary to pleasure.
Teens having unprotected sex are saying to themselves--"if we (yes, we) get pregnant--we don't have to be parents--we have choices)
That's choosing the pleasure over the function and saying that if the function produces life--we can just get rid of it.
Laura--
in your case, you use protection. Abortion is an option? You don't have to answer that--I'm just sayin'.

Wandering Coyote said...

Sadie: Yes, the primary biological function of sex is reproduction, but we all know that that's not the primary reason we humans engage in it. Amongst the myriad of reasons, sex is often about power. And that's what the abortion issue is about, ultimately: power - who has it and who doesn't.

Sadie Lou said...

debating abortion is like banging my head into a brick wall--it's going to hurt so I avoid it at all costs...

JDHURF said...

Your not doing a good job of avoiding it! Lol!

Wandering Coyote said...

Sadie: I know what you mean! That's why I tend to stay out of these online debates - it's draining and one person will ever convince the other. And no one wants to be convinced, either. But it's good to get this stuff out, and although I disagree with your stance - and you mine, obviously - a rousing debate once in a while is rather invigorating. It certainly doesn't mean I disresect anyone.

Laura said...

That's the thing... I'm not trying to convince anyone that the SHOULD have abortions, unlike pro life people who try to convince everyone, everywhere that they shouldn't. I'm saying that it's a choice. And yes, it's an option for me to answer your question. No bones about it. If the option is ever legally taken away from me, I will have no choice but to have my tubes tied and/or John will get "the snip".

As far as abortion is concerned, I think that during the first trimester, when there is no way the fetus can survive without the mother, and when most miscarriages and natural abortions happen anyway, that there's no problem with it. After that, it does become a moral dilemma for everyone to decide for themselves what they believe is right.

Sadie Lou said...

Well said Laura but be careful not to generalize. Not all people who are pro-life try to press their agenda on everyone else.
While I think abortion is wrong as a means of birth control--I certainly don't do anything other than just talk about it with other people.
Abortion is wrong for me and everyone else is responsible for their own actions.
Wandering--
It is good to talk about it. That's why I do it. I just avoid it when it starts looking like it's gonna get ugly or when both sides are so stiff--no good can come of it. I enjoyed this debate. (got a little frustrated but that's okay)
Jdurf--
I meant face to face debating--not online debate. Should have made that a little clearer.

Laura said...

Sadie: While I think I understand what you mean, the way I see it is that you're supporting a public policy agenda that would effectively take choice away from people by making abortion less accessible and even illegal. That means that, even if in your personal life you don't go telling people what to do, that indirectly, you are doing just that.

If you aren't supporting that agenda, then I'd say you're pro-choice even if you don't know it - because you support letting people make up their own minds.

I think you'd be surprised to find that most pro-choice people also don't think abortion should be used as birth control.

Anonymous said...

asher said...
The common response is that most people are against abortion except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the mother. That's kind of intellectually currupt. A fetus is a fetus. You either agree that it's a life or you don't.

I think the more interesting stat would be to find out how many pregnancies are actually the result of incest or rape. It's a number I've never seen.


Response: The argument in favor of abortion is "choice" aka "freedom", a paramount value of our society. Life is another paramount value. When there has already been "choice" as in the vast amount of abortions, life is the value that remains and should be honored, and enforced.

Since a raped woman had no choice, it follows that she is still entitled to a choice to carry the baby or abort. This is not hypocritical; it is simply recognizing two balancing interests both of which are backed by compelling values.

Again, in most cases choice has already been discarded, ;leaving only life.