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« A Dynamo Deal ... and Bush Plays Cricket | Main | What Next - The Blulitzer? »

March 07, 2006


I think that the South Dakotans have no idea what they have done, but my personal tear has to do with the fact that they allowed rapists to retain parental rights (voted down in committee 11 - 0), thus presenting victims with a monstrous choice: Stay teathered to the rapist throughout your childs life, or give the child up...potentially to the rapist.

Boggles the mind.

I'd be curious to know if those South Carolina charges could hold up on a federal appeal. Wouldn't there be constitutional issues with declaring a fetus to be a legal person?

I cannot authoritatively answer the legal ramifications of the abortion politics being played out in state courts. But consider the harrassment index of these legislations, clearly meant to intimidate women.

It's horrifying. I'm not sure which part is worse, that they're now claiming it's murder to (intentionally) *cause* a stillbirth, or that in practice they're convicting women of murder for (accidentally) *having* stillbirths.

That there are very much "constitutional issues with declaring a [non-viable] fetus to be a legal person" is precisely the SD legislature's point. The legislation is a slap in the face to the standing case law on abortion. It was explicitly intended as a shoot-the-moon attempt to bait the Supreme Court, newly fortified in its conservatism by Roberts and Alito, into overturning Roe v. Wade. Even many pro-lifers think that, as legal strategy, this was a stupid move. While, the specific case law, Supreme Court history, and the new Justices' records support the potential for success in chipping away at abortion rights (through parental notification, spousal notification, waiting periods, etc.), they all point against the potential for success of such an obvious move.

To use a comparison where I can better get behind the challengers: even Brown v. Board of Education did not actually overturn the "separate but equal" doctrine under which Plessy v. Ferguson found racial segregation in trains legal. Rather, after the NAACP had laid a careful groundwork of cases in less controversial settings, such as graduate education, it obtained a decision from the Court that Plessy's doctrine of separate but equal "has no place in the field of public education." Schools are different from trains, see?

There may actually be people in South Dakota stupid enough to think this ploy will work. Though I seriously doubt it, God forbid, they may even be right. Even then they may have bitten off more than they can chew, since a majority of the American public thinks that abortion should be legal, but regulated-- as it is now-- and I think overturning Roe in support of such an ugly law and ugly political move would cause even more of a backlash than the Roe decision itself did.

Much as with the various gay-bashing bills developed in 2004, I can't help reading this law as a cynical election year ploy by these bozos, with the stated purpose holding only a secondary place under the reasoning that, if it works, heh, it'll be a win-win situation. Under either rationale, it seems to me a perfect example of why the right to choice needs to be left at the national level (I'm indifferent as to whether under the current Constitutional case law or some other mechanism-- I have no particular love of the Roe decision, except in effect), rather than made a plaything of state legislatures.

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