June 22, 2006

South Dakota Leads the Nation?

Cynthia Gorney has an excellent piece in the June 26 issue of the New Yorker about the politics of the recently enacted South Dakota ban on abortion. The South Dakota legislation is an absolute ban--no rape-and-incest exceptions, in fact no exceptions at all except when neccessary to prevent the mother's eminent death. This legislation has been controversial among pro-life groups--the National Right to Life Committee and Americans United for Life actively opposed it, and many pro-life advocates appear uncertain that an absolute ban is a good or saleable idea. Pro-choice forces appear to have collected enough signatures to subject the measure to a popular vote in the November elections. Even pro-life voters may be uneasy with a ban that says there are absolutely no circumstances, ever, under which an abortion is justified, and pushing such voters to support an absolute ban may well backfire.

Both pro-choice and pro-life forces have a lot riding on the outcome of the November referendum--if such a ban can't pass in an extremely conservative state as South Dakota, it's hard to imagine that it could pass anywhere; but if the legislation is upheld, it's difficult for pro-choice forces to claim such results aren't what the people want. Only in America could the outcome of an election in such a small state--South Dakota's population is only about 775,000--have so many moral and political consequences for the rest of the country.
- Jim Fossett

View blog reactions

| More