“A disaster waiting to happen”
This really pissed me off. Just consider what this elected official in South Dakota said, in response to a question asking for a scenario in which an exception for the life of the mother would encompass pregnancies due to rape or incest:
BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
Ridiculous ideas like this are not unique to South Dakota. There are movements on to declare Christianity a state religion, to ban contraception, pornography and abortion around a new Catholic University sponsored by the founder of Domino’s Pizza, to ban contraception, etc.
Clearly religion is a main motivator of these efforts—I’m not seeing many calls to ban EC from people who belong to the Society for Ethical Culture. The idea that there is a defined beginning to life, namely at conception, is a religious and moral determination, not one that is scientific or medical. Medicine defines pregnancy in terms of an implanted embryo. A four-cell conceptus does not a pregnancy make, and discarding a four-cell embryo in an IVF lab is not murder nor is it abortion.
So the idea that EC and even all hormonal contraception is abortifacient is not grounded in science but rather in religious thought. The idea that a woman does not have a fundamental right to an abortion, even with certain restrictions, except when her life alone is in danger (and it’s a wonder that even that exception was placed in to the SD law that was signed earlier this week) also has its roots in religion. I don’t think the SD decision to ban virtually all abortion arises out of secular thought. It’s certainly not something with a scientific or medical basis. Medically, we know that from a public health perspective, banning nearly all abortions is a disaster waiting to happen.
Not all religions would like to ban abortions. And even within denominations that officially are against reproductive choice, there are numerous people who are pro-choice. We need more of them to speak up, especially within SD. But perhaps the majority of people in SD really do want to ban abortion. In that case, perhaps they might have a different opinion in a few years after witnessing the consequences. And it really stinks for those women who would want to make the difficult choice to terminate their pregnancies if they also live within South Dakota.
I actually suspect that it will do nothing to reduce the number of abortions among women from SD. In fact, I’m very certain of it. We know from recent studies that parental notification laws have not led to any reductions in the abortion rate among minors. In the case of women within S. Dakota, many will either find a friend or physician to illegally terminate the pregnancy, find a way to go out of state where they can have a safe, legal abortion, or else discard the fetus once it has been born at home. All of these options are bad, especially the first and last.