Butterfly Cauldron

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When the people said 'No' to our abortion ban, they really meant 'Try again'

Unsurprisingly, those wacky South Dakotans have put forth yet another abortion ban bill. This time it include exceptions for rape, incest and the mother's health. Isn't that generous? Actually, it appears to be even less generous than it sounds.

Highlights, you ask for? Highlights you shall get! (Full story here.)

This year’s bill would allow rape victims to get abortions if they report the rapes to police within 50 days. Doctors would have to confirm the report with police and would have to take blood from aborted fetuses and give that information to police for DNA testing.

You see, a woman's word is not good enough. Leave aside for the moment the sheer repulsiveness of the idea of a bunch of legislators deciding who can and cannot control their own body, imagine you're a rape victim. Too traumatized by the experience to tell anyone, you try to forget it and get on with your life. No one knows, so maybe it never really happened, right? Right. Okay. Pull yourself together, try to act normal, keep it quiet. Then, you realize you're pregnant. Fuck! Ah, but! Even though you live in S.D. where the AmeriBam rules, there are exceptions for rape victims. So, you screw up your courage, scrape together the money and go for an appointment -- only to find out that, because you didn't report your attack, you're going to have to carry your rapist's victim to term. Poor you, so sad. But what did you expect for getting yourself raped, mmm?

But, what if you're an incest victim? Surely you would be allowed an abortion, right? Well, yes. Maybe.

In the case of incest, a doctor would have to get the woman’s consent to report the crime along with the identity of the alleged perpetrator before an abortion could be performed. Blood samples from fetuses would have to be provided to police in incest cases, too.

If you agree to report the crime, as well as name the rapist, you can have your abortion. Isn't that nice of Us? Yes, yes. We thought so too. Nevermind that maybe it's your father and reporting will tear your family apart. Or maybe your grandfather or brother or favorite uncle. Nevermind the trauma you'll experience when there's a public record of your abuse, for anyone to find by a quick search at the local courthouse. Nevermind that you'll still have to go through a trial. Or that maybe no one will believe you. You wanton little 10-year-old, you know you seduced him! No no, We choose to ignore the actual ramifications of this law in service of the Little Angel in Your Belly. (Note: Yes, of course, I want child abusers to be prosecuted. But there are a lot of reasons abused children don't come forward and forcing them to do so in order to receive medical care is just wrong.)

And why, you may ask, are these exemptions so extremely narrow? Because women lie, of course.

One of the 25 sponsors, state Rep. Gordon Howie, said the rape and incest provisions are strict to ensure that women don’t say they have been victims in order to obtain abortions.

And why in the world would a woman living in a state that allows abortion only in such specific circumstances lie in order to get one? It just baffles the mind, doesn't it?

There's also an exception for the life and health of the mother. But -- come on, you knew something was coming, right? -- again, a woman's word isn't good enough. Neither, apparently, is the word of her own doctor.

It would allow abortions to save women’s lives and in cases in which their health would be seriously jeopardized by a continued pregnancy. However, a doctor could perform an abortion only if a doctor from another practice concurs that a woman’s health is in jeopardy.

Not only do women lie, but so do the doctors who regularly care for them and are most familiar their with particular health situation. So, if the doctor who has cared for a women since she was a baby and who knows her family history and personal health quirks believes an abortion is the best option -- that's not good enough. No, she has to see a doctor who is completely unfamiliar with her history, who may very well simply believe that all abortion is unnecessary. There's no provision in the law to allow the woman or her doctor to pick the second doctor, so who knows? Maybe the legislature could set up a panel of doctors it deems 'knowledgable' enough to make the decision for the woman. Because, of course, there's no way a woman could make a decision for herself, now is there?

So. Isn't it about time we started an Underground Railroad to get women out of South Dakota? And for those of us who live in states that like to mimic S.D.? Please?

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posted by Zan at 5:07 PM

4 Comments:

I knew that would happen!
"Exceptions," my sweet ass!

Some people are ashamed to live in VA because of the anti-gay marriage amendment. But with that, and with SD, what we need is to bring voters into the states, as well as informing the ones who are already there. So they voted against the ban. Yay. But my fear surrounds the ones who may think no-exceptions is too extreme, but these exceptions sould just dandy.

And then there's the people who banned abortion on the reservation, claiming genocide as a reason for being antiabortion. I saw a site that made the same claim for black people, which is laughable. And the women who do so don't see the irony in claiming to speak for and be protective of a minority.

word verification: psizfun
per square inch Zan fun?
Hey, it's got "Piz" in there!

6:36 PM  

I worry about that too, Mac. Part of that is because people are so woefully ill-informed. I spent six years in newspapers and knew how much we reported and yet....people just don't read the papers or listen to the news or read blogs or...I can't stand being that uninformed. But it's crazy easy to just remain ignorant.

And yeah, there are lots of people who'd think 'well, it seems reasonable to me to require a rape be reported first' And it seems that way, on the surface. To people who haven't held their friend as she cried because her boyfriend raped her on her mother's bed. Or, worse yet, find out months afterword that said boyfriend was raping her on a regular basis and she was too ashamed to tell anyone.

Or what about those girls who are abused by family members who are to ashamed to admit it? Who would rather just deal with the stigma of being thought a slut rather than admit that Daddy touchs them?

These people make me want to scream and kill things.

7:38 PM  

yeah, i'm more for a movement to get the assholes -out- of there. seriously: just ugh ugh ugh. and they really never frigging give up. unbelievable, they SUCK SO BAD I WANNA CRAP

8:07 PM  

Scream your heart out - I enjoy doing so to the tune of U2; kill their legislation.

9:26 PM  

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