Emily White has this very moving reflection on South Dakota's recently passed abortion ban.
The passage of the South Dakota abortion ban is a radical development in the history of abortion law, and it is clear that soon dozens of other states will follow suit. The law—which doesn't make exceptions for rape or incest, as other laws have—is being passed in a red, red state where an abortion is already extremely difficult to obtain, so perhaps it should come as no surprise. Yet if you look at the law in the context of a country run by a religious ideologue who abuses power as regularly as he rides his mountain bike, and when you consider how the Supreme Court is shifting, and how far away 2008 is, well, it gets a little scary. It feels like the beginning of something.
When South Dakota's governor signed the ban into law, he spoke of protecting our "most vulnerable citizens," but here is how South Dakota values those lives, once they are out and breathing and in need:
"The three worst counties for child poverty were all in South Dakota, according to the Children's Defense Fund. Buffalo County, home to the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, was dead last" (New York Times editorial page, March 12).
It is strangely appropriate that the one ray of light in the South Dakota story comes from a population also targeted for termination by white men. In March, Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, announced that she would open a Planned Parenthood clinic within the boundaries of the reservation, a place the law can't touch. Stretching 11,000 square miles on the southwestern edge of the state, the Pine Ridge Reservation is a place with a 45 percent unemployment rate. Yet if Cecilia Fire Thunder opens her clinic, it will be the only place in South Dakota to get a safe and legal abortion. It's quite an image to contemplate: all kinds of females, even rich white girls from the suburbs, traveling into the poverty of reservation land so they can take control of their fate. Maybe it would seem ironic if it weren't so ominous.
Read the whole thing.