Outlawing Choice No Longer Exists In The Abstract

As you've undoubtedly already heard, Governor Mike Rounds has signed into law a bill banning abortion in the state of South Dakota. While there is an exception in the bill if the life of the mother is at risk, there are no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or situations where the health of the mother is compromised. The South Dakota ban is likely to be followed shortly by a similar ban in Mississippi, which does allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest. Right now, each state only has one abortion clinic.

Now, neither of these bills is really going to outlaw abortion in either state. Yet. Rounds openly admits that the South Dakota ban will be bogged down in the courts for years to come. Both (again, as you've undoubtedly already heard) are designed to challenge the precedent of Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court, where their backers expect to find a receptive audience with John Roberts and Samuel Alito. This is the moment that every pro-choice voter who has ever voted for a Republican never thought would come. They voted for Republican tax cuts, confident that the social agenda was just some sort of ruse to win over the Falwell crowd. For example, in September of 2004, polling indicated that in the crucial state of Ohio, support for Bush among self-identified pro-choice voters was much higher than support for Kerry among self-identified pro-life voters. This is a critical point. Throughout the pro-choice electorate, there has long been this assumption that the woman's right to choose is not seriously threatened. It has always been an incredibly stupid and undisciplined thing to assume. Elected Republicans haven't been pandering to the Falwell crowd. They are the Falwell crowd.

And this fight isn't over. It doesn't end with Bush naming Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court. If not Bush, the next President will name a replacement to John Paul Stevens, whose death Republicans are gleefully hoping for because it will likely push the court decisively one way or the other (or at least more than it has already been pushed). A quick review of Republicans likely to run for their party's nomination in 2008 shows that ignoring choice at the ballot box is no longer an option. John McCain, George Allen, and Mitt Romney have all promised that, like Rounds, they would sign the South Dakota ban, as has darkhorse candidate Mike Huckabee.

Advocates for choice have been warning voters about this for years. Obviously, after a while, those warnings sounded alarmist and unrealistic to some. Unfortunately, they were neither. So here we are. This issue no longer exists in the abstract.

Tags: abortion, General 2008, George Allen, John McCain, Judges, Mitt Romney, states (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Pro-choice Republicans

The thing is, most of these pro-choice Republicans are in Blue states. And they could very well see this as something that doesn't affect them -- it'll only happen in solid Red states.

Californians aren't worried about a similar bill passing through their state legislature -- and most solid Blue states aren't either.

However, it may tip the balance (in our favor), in swing states like PA and FL. Let's hope some of these people do come to their senses, rather than continue to willfully ignore the reality of what their party has become.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-03-06 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-choice Republicans

If you look at the SUSA poll on this issue, even states like SC are pro-choicers, believe it or not. So it might have larger ramifications than you think, especially in western states such as Wyoming and Montana.

by Ga6thDem 2006-03-06 04:52PM | 0 recs
Florida has a privacy amendment

to its state constitution. It has been intrepreted to include the right to an abortion and the overturning of Roe would be of little effect in Florida.

by molly bloom 2006-03-06 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Florida has a privacy amendment

Provided they just overturn Roe.

What if they overturn roe, but with the reasoning that a fetus is a person, and the fourteenth amendment applies to it?  

by Valatan 2006-03-07 08:20AM | 0 recs
my spelling sucks tonight worse

than usual. interpreted

by molly bloom 2006-03-06 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Outlawing Choice No Longer Exists In The Abstr

For the GOP, abortion is about keeping the Christian right on board.

That means providing some immediate satisfaction in interim or partial actions, but always with the promise of their main demands kept unfulfilled and off the immediate agenda.

As many have pointed out, the last thing the GOP wants is for Roe to be overturned. They want to keep things tied up in the courts indefinitely.

That way, indignation is created (but not so much as to pass the tipping-point) and it's directed elsewhere than at the GOP.

Meanwhile abortion provision suffers death by a thousand cuts. (Partial abortion laws, Laci and Conner's Law, etc, etc.)

Compare it to the bankruptcy bill.

Versions of this were held up in Congress since Clinton's time. They made progress, then got stymied.

Which was great news for the lobbyists (more fees) and the pols (more contributions). The more they failed, the more they succeeded.

Eventually, something went wrong, or the loan sharks showed their teeth, and the bill got passed.

But, for the loan sharks, there will be other bills. (There already are!)

You can only overturn Roe once.

by skeptic06 2006-03-06 05:21PM | 0 recs
Oh, they'll find post-Roe stuff

First, it's abortion.  Then, it's birth control.  Or it's keeping abortion illegal.  Or it's the depiction of fucking in TV and movies.  Or it's the fact that gays exist.  Hell, they might go after no-fault divorce.  They HATE no-fault divorce.

Regardless, if the Republicans give them the main thing that they want, there will be much rejoicing on their part, and they won't forget who gave them their big victory.  

It's naieve to think that if Roe gets overturned, the Christian right will go home.  It will energize them, make them bolder and stronger.  The hope, IMO, is that they would overreach and alienate mainstream voters.

by Valatan 2006-03-07 08:25AM | 0 recs
Watch the video...

...of SD Dem State Rep Clayton Halverson on the abortion ban bill.

He's introduced as

consider[ing] himself in the middle on this issue.

And says:
In my opinion, the middle is: Allow the amendments we offered, which would include, in the case of rape, the option of abortion should be available; in the case of incest, the same thing goes; and when the mother's health or the health of the fetus...That's where I think most of the people in our state fall.

I somehow don't think he's worried about his NOW scorecard!

The Crooks and Liars clip has the incomparable Bill Napoli's sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it quote.

I find Halverson's even more depressing somehow. In a Bush state, he's hewing to the Bush line, more or less.

Raising how big does the tent need to be? questions. And reviving the puzzle why Tim Johnson hasn't been asked on the record about his position on the bill.

by skeptic06 2006-03-06 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Watch the video...

I can't wait for the first GOP politician in South Dakota to get nailed on a DNA test for fatherhood.  They are going to wish they had their abortion clinics back someday....

by global yokel 2006-03-06 07:43PM | 0 recs
According to Survey USA...

...49% of South Dakota residents considered themselves pro-life, while 47% considered themselves pro-choice.  The poll was released nearly six months ago.  As far as I can tell, the question was simply "Do you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice?"

http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50S tateAbortion0805SortedbyProChoice.htm

Other notes from the same poll:

Pro-life was a majority in ten states (I included Indiana with 50%), and a plurality in three others.  One state - North Dakota - had a tie between the two views.

Pro-choice was a majority in 33 states (I included Kansas with 50%) and a plurality in three others.

Some states that voted for GWB in 2004 are strongly (margin 15% or more) pro-choice, including Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Florida, Wyoming, Arizona, Iowa, New Mexico, and Virginia.  Four other states - Montana, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas - are pro-choice by about 10%.

Pennsylvania, at 51-44 pro-choice, is the "blue" state with the smallest difference between the two views.

by KTinOhio 2006-03-06 09:03PM | 0 recs
Fighting back: 10 state strategy

10 states are following SD and gunning for women's right to choose. So this is what we have to do: Support the state-level groups that will be fighting against these bans. Build the grassroots in these states so that the citizens of those states will themselves beat the anti-Choice bandwagon. A wave of support from us could make a real difference:

South Dakota: Grassroots South Dakota

Alabama: Your suggestions welcome

Georgia: Georgia for Democracy; and Georgians for Choice;

Indiana: Indy for Democracy; and Indiana Progressive PAC;

Kentucky: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth; and University of Kentucky Progressive Coalition;

Mississippi: Your suggestions welcome

Missouri: Pro-Choice Missouri; and Planned Parenthood St. Louis;

Ohio: Democracy for Ohio; and Blue 88;

Rhode Island: NOW Rhode Island;

South Carolina: South Caronlina Progressive Network;

Tennessee:Democracy for Tennessee;  

West Virginia: Your suggestions welcome

We can rant and rave all we want. But retaking our nation will require grassroots power on the state and local levels. The above mentioned groups could do the trick with enough support and given some time. NO STATE is so red we should write it off. Consider the above yet another piece in the 50-state stratetgy.

by mole333 2006-03-07 02:04AM | 0 recs
Outlawing Choice No Longer Exists In The Abstract

This horrible public policy but I believe this could be a political plus pushing marginally Republican women (and some men) to vote Dem because of this issue.  The pro-choice community is no longer crying wolf and the last time abortion appeared to be threatened (circa 1989-1992), this issue broke strongly in the pro-choice politicians favor.  

People vote issues that they care about and when abortion appeared safe and legal many suburban women voted Repub for other issues.  I suspect this will change their voting habits as it did 15 years ago.

The only way we are going to stop the pro-lifers is to start winning elections.  If SD isn't going to wake up the pro-choice majority, nothing is.

by John Mills 2006-03-07 05:18AM | 0 recs
This is a disaster for the GOP

The GOP has been able to use the abortion issue year after year by promising an abortion ban, failing to get it, and then blaming that on the liberals.  

Only 1/2 the GOP wants to overturn Roe, so the ploy is used to get the more radical half to the polls.  

Now the radicals expect a payoff and they don't understand why some in the GOP are still selling the incrementalist approach, which theoretically leaves more "babies" to "die."  

Live by the stupid, die by the stupid, I guess.  

So, for the religious right, the message is "see?  They were just playing you along."  

For the secular right, the message is "my God!  Look at all these new government powers!  Has your party been taken over by extremists?"  

Rinse, repeat.  
.

by Grand Moff Texan 2006-03-07 05:46AM | 0 recs
Grand Moff Texan is right...

...overturning Roe would signal the death of the Republican Party; political suicide for the GOP.

Not only would 70-80% of all women rise up to smite Republicans in voting booths, but, as GMT says, they would lose the showcase issue that draws support from their base.

I hope they succeed in getting this to the Supremes, but they won't. Even if the Supremes didn't just take the coward's way out and refuse to review the order declaring the law unconstitutional, those in the REAL power structure of the GOP would order the Supremes to not overturn Roe.

Why would they want to lose millions of dollars, lose their base by giving them what they want, and get voted out of office in one fell swoop? I wish South Dakota the best of luck.

by Bill Arnett 2006-03-07 09:15AM | 0 recs

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