S. Dakota anti-abortion law

On Monday, HB1215, the South Dakota Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act was signed into law. An act which only allows abortions in the case where the mother does not know that she is pregnant. Section 2 of the bill states:

No person may knowingly administer to, prescribe for, or procure for,
or sell to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance
with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the
life of an unborn human being.  No person may knowingly use or
employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant woman with the
specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an
unborn human being.

I think it is important to notice two things here, the only exception (as outlined in section 4) is in an attempt by a licensed physician to save the life of the mother (but all attempts are to be made to save both lives), and second, that the bill specifically targets abortion providers and not the mothers.

What bothers me here is the loss of rights for women. “What about the rights of the unborn?” you may ask. Personally, I fall into the lines that if you cannot survive (by this I mean continue to live, as in breath) on your own, you are not alive. HB 1215 defines life thus:

2. “Unborn human being,” an individual living member of the species,
homo sapiens, throughout the embryonic and fetal ages of the unborn
child from fertilization to full gestation and childbirth
3.”Fertilization,” that point in time when a male human sperm
penetrates the zona pellucida of a female human ovum.

In other word, life begins at conception. Even more than that though, is the lack of any provision in cases of incest or rape. According to USDOJ statistics (from the NCVS) only 39% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported. Under this law, any women who, for whatever reason, did not report a rape, only to later discover that she was pregnant as a result of that rape, would be required to either leave the state for an abortion or to carry the pregnancy to term. Also to be considered are cases where the victim, of rape or incest, is unable to report what has happened (imagine a young girl being molested by her father or brother). Again this victim would then be required to carry the pregnancy to term.

I must admit that the passage of this act also bring about a sense of relief. While I personally do not support abortion in all cases, I do support a women’s right to choose. With that in mind, I can only hope that when this law gets to the Supreme Court (and it will), it will be overturned as unconstitutional. Why is this a source of relief? Again, I can only hope that it will force those that wish to legislate certain aspects of morality that it is not something that the common person will accept nor is it something that our constitution will support.

Finally, there is one more thing that I must admit. As a man, this issue does not actually effect me. Thankfully, I have never been in a position where I have had to be any part of this type of decision. So, with understanding of those two facts, there is a tiny part of me that doesn’t really care what happens here. This wasn’t even enacted in my state. Currently, Louisiana has other, larger matters to attend to. I understand that this does effect me, that what happens with this act can and will effect how laws in other states are written. I can only hope that the courts get this one right.