South Dakota House OKs Bill to Ban Nearly All Abortions

Yippie!

Governor Mike Rounds has a spine:

“I’ve indicated I’m pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives,” Rounds said. “If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law.”

The bill makes exceptions for pregnancies that threathen the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest. It takes guts to pass a bill that supports life no matter how that life was conceived.

It is scheduled to take effect July 1, but there will of course be the inevitable court battles. Planned Parenthood, which kills 800 babies each year in South Dakota, will likely be leading that fight.

15 Responses to “South Dakota House OKs Bill to Ban Nearly All Abortions”

  1. Jack Kilcrease Says:

    I was particularly happy with this extensive a ban. I agree it is important to protect life even if it is conceived under horrible circumstances. My only concern is that the make up of the Supreme Court is not such that it will rule in favor of this law. Currently, only four justices would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Those being Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito. Ginsburg, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter and Breyer would not vote to over turn it. Stevens in particular, I know, is holding on as long as he can so that something like this doesn\’t happen. He\’ll be 86 this year and Bush may be looking at another appointment before he\’s gone. If not, it\’s imperative that the Republicans keep the White House so that we can finally over turn the damage of the Warren court once and for all. Unfortunately, I don\’t think that the battle will be won this time around. It makes me very sad.

  2. Simon Says:

    Just to borrow a thought experiment from a philosopher … if you woke up and found that (i) i was attached to your organs, (ii) would die if you didn’t let me use them for 9 months, (iii) and i would drastically change your life after those months because you would now be responsible for my well-being and primarily think of yourself as my keeper, would it be *murder* if you said no?

    Of course, this is *not* analogous to most pregnancies since, in the scenario, you bore no responsibility for my dependence on your body.

    However, it *is* analogous to pregnancies due to rape. The South Dakota “law” (it’s not really law since it can’t bind anyone) does not make an exception for rape. But if it would not be murder for you to say that I could not use your body for 9 months and then be dependent on you thereafter, why is it murder for a woman to refuse to sustain the life due to rape? (Note that there is no dispute here as to whether the new life is a “person” — it is implied by the thought experiment that it is a person, just like you and me).

  3. Elle Says:

    Simon I fail to see how the circumstances of a life beginning lessens our responsibility as individuals and society as a whole in defending it.

  4. Simon Says:

    Hi Elle,

    I don’t think I followed your question. Let me restate the lesson i think comes from the thought experiment.

    We DO have a duty to respect life and not murder any person. I’m assuming here, with you, that there is a person as soon as there is fertilization. So a fertilized ovum is a person just like I’m a person. Neither one of us should be murdered. But from that fact, it does not follow that you have to do whatever you can to prevent my death. If you are not responsible for my life being in danger, then you have no duty to save my by taking extraordinary means (letting me attach myself to your body and requiring you to take care of me after that would be “extraordinary”). Maybe you disagree with that — that would be interesting.

    But on the assumption that you would not be obligated to let me use your body and not obligated to take care of me, why would a woman have that kind of obligation towards a fertilized ovum that was brought about by a rape?

    Indeed, I am *not* saying that what we owe to a new life is less than what we owe to others. I’m assuming we owe the same thing to a new life. And I think it follows, from what we owe people, that women who are raped do not owe it to embryos inside them to provide the extraordinary means needed to keep that embryo alive.

    Where has the analogy — the thought experiment — gone wrong, on your view?

  5. Elle Says:

    Simon, you said, “If you are not responsible for my life being in danger, then you have no duty to save my by taking extraordinary means…”

    1. A woman who takes a morning after pill or goes to get an abortion IS responsible for the child’s life being in danger.

    2. No American woman who gives birth would have to care for and raise her child. The demand for adoptable infants in this country is enormous.

    3. By your logic, if you happened upon a woman being raped or a child being beaten, you would have no responsibility to interfere because it would require “extraordinary means.” That is very sad.

    4. Sure going through a pregnancy caused by rape and giving birth to a little baby who, though precious, is only there bcause of a violent crime is traumatic. The rape, of course, is not her fault and she should bear no guilt in it and any guilt she does feel is inappropriate. After she takes part in killing the child who is not at fault in this at all, she appropriately assumes the guilt of having murdered her child. Allowing this does no favor to a woman who has just been through a horrible event.

    5. If you support the death penalty for innocent bystanders (the child conceived), do you support the death penalty for the rapist?

  6. Simon Says:

    Elle,

    you wrote: “A woman who takes a morning after pill or goes to get an abortion IS responsible for the child’s life being in danger.?

    Of course - that is clearly true. I am referring to the circumstanecs before there is thought of taking the morning after pill or aborting — the circumstances leading to the pregnancy. I meant that, under law, if you are not responsible for the fact that someone’s life is in danger, you don’t have the obligation to take extraordinary means to save the person’s life. I don’t know what would count as “extraorindary means,? but let’s just say that you wouldn’t have to let someone else attach themselves to your body for 9months.

    You wrote: “By your logic, if you happened upon a woman being raped or a child being beaten, you would have no responsibility to interfere because it would require “extraordinary means.? That is very sad.?

    I would take myself to have very strong moral obligations to do something. So your personal criticism isn’t called for here. But there is a difference between what I might take to be my moral responsibilities and what obligations that state can impose on people. It happens to be a fact that you live in a country that imposes very little legal obligation on people to save the lives of others. (note: this isn’t a “left wing? view that has won out.) But anyway, the point is that we generally do not want the state requiring people to save the lives of others by taking extraordinary means. (Do you disagree that you should not be forced to let me use your organs for 9 months?)

    “After she takes part in killing the child who is not at fault in this at all, she appropriately assumes the guilt of having murdered her child.?

    You’re begging the question at hand here, which is, “is it murder as opposed to refusing to save?? My question to you was this: if you refused to allow me to use your organs for 9 months – let’s say you were the only one whose organs were compatible with mine – do you think the law should be able to compel you to let me use your organs? Do you think it would be *murder* if you said no and I subsequently died?

    “If you support the death penalty for innocent bystanders (the child conceived), do you support the death penalty for the rapist?”

    I don’t support the death penalty for the innocent bystander. I think there is a difference between murdering someone and refusing to sustain a life. So, for example, if you refused to let me use your organs and I died, I would *not* think that you murdered me. My claim is that by analogy, it would not be murder for a raped woman to refuse to sustain the embryo.

    If I may make a request – because I think it’s the crucial question of the discussion – could I please ask you to respond to the question regarding whether you think it would be murder if you refused to let me use your organs.

  7. elaine p Says:

    Simon, Allowing what is natural as in an ovum attaching to a uterine wall is not the moral equivalent of allowing another person to borrow your organs for 9 months. I do not have the moral responsibility to let you live off me and refusing to do so is not murder. It is allowing you to die of natural causes. I do however have moral responsibility for the life that is conceived within me . I am a parent regardless of the circumstance. For lots of well-reasoned Christian pro-life apologetics please check out str.org, website of aplogist Greg Koukl who has numerous articles on abortion posted and who asks regarding rape \\

  8. elaine p Says:

    oops- rest of post- “Why complicate the crime of rape with the crime of taking an innocent child’s life? Or, to put it another way: Why should the child pay with its life because its father is a rapist? “

  9. Simon Says:

    Elaine,

    Thanks for the response. But let’s say you woke up and I was attached to you. Could you remove me? Would that be dying of “natural causes”? Wouldn’t be the same if the raped woman said, “I am not out to make sure that the embryo dies, I just don’t want it attached to my body. If a consequence is that it dies, that’s too bad — in the same way it would be too bad if an adult needed to use my body to live.”

    You can’t rest much on what is “natural” here. Plenty of natural things are bad …. plenty of natural things are good.

    And to answer your next question: “Why should the child pay with its life because its father is a rapist?” Well, of course, the child is not responsible for the father being a rapist. But let’s assume I am not responsible for the deadly illness I have contracted which requires me to be attached to someone else’s body. What is the moral difference? I don’t see one.

  10. Elle Says:

    Simon, your indifference to life is sad and disturbing.

  11. Simon Says:

    Elle,

    Instead of insulting or attacking me, why not show me where I went wrong? I’m open to having someone show me where I have gone wrong. I don’t have the arrogance to believe that I have all the answers. I just don’t. I want to hear arguments and reasons, and if I am wrong, I admit it — I just want to know where.

    Second, your remark about me is wrong. I have not shown any indifference to life here. I have repeatedly asked you a question and you have refused to answer — the one about whether you should have an obligaton under law to let me use your organs if you woke up and found that my life was dependent on yours. I have not argued that abortions are not murder, in general. Here, I was only talking about whether a woman has a duty to provide her body to an embryo that she had no responsibility in creating, because she was raped.

    Why do you prefer to insult instead of discuss?

  12. Simon Says:

    Are you resorting to insulting me because you cannot see where the argument has gone wrong? Is it that you think that you should have no obligation to let me use your organs but that you don’t see how to block extending the analogy to the case of a woman who is raped?

  13. Elle Says:

    Simon, you asked, “Wouldn’t be the same if the raped woman said, ‘I am not out to make sure that the embryo dies, I just don’t want it attached to my body. If a consequence is that it dies, that’s too bad — in the same way it would be too bad if an adult needed to use my body to live.’”

    That is an illustration of indifference to life. It seems to me that is the stance you are advocating. I don’t believe noting that indifference and labeling it as sad is an insult. It is an observation.

    I think Elaine stated it well when she said, “Allowing what is natural as in an ovum attaching to a uterine wall is not the moral equivalent of allowing another person to borrow your organs for 9 months. I do not have the moral responsibility to let you live off me and refusing to do so is not murder. It is allowing you to die of natural causes.”

    Preventing a zygote from attaching to the uterine wall is not allowing someone to die of natural causes. That would be like strangling someone and saying they died of natural causes because it is natural for them to die from not having enough air. It just doesn’t work.

  14. Simon Says:

    Elle,

    I don’t understand the reliance on what is “natural.” Your argument assumes that we have some obligation to allow what is natural to happen. So … if you get cancer, which is natural, you have an obligation to let it kill you? Of course not. You can try to have doctors remove it.

    I am not saying that an embryo is like a cancer — please don’t read that horrible position into what I’m saying.

    I just don’t think you can rely on this notion of what is “natural” to conclude that a raped woman has an obligation to let the embryo use her body. The fact that it happens “naturally” is of absolutely no moral consequence because the woman is not responsible for the embryo being there.

    Here is a separate observation: you think that it is empirically true that women who have abortions suffer more psychologically than they would had they not had an abortion. Let’s leave aside whether that is the case in non-rape cases. Let’s assume you are right for those cases. Why would you believe that it is true in rape cases? It is absolutely true that women treat children poorly when they despise the father of the kid and the kid looks like the father. That is true. Why think women should be able to deal psychologically with having a child you may very well look like her rapist?

    Finally, you did insult me — you did not merely make an observation — you tried to back it up with an evaluation — that my attitude is “disturbing” — which implies that it is a vice. I don’t mind being insulted — it’s fine. I am just more interested in having a real discussion instead of being attacked personally.

  15. Kerner Says:

    Proposition (iii) of Simon’s hypothetical question is invalid. We can grant that that a third person is attached to a pregnant mom for 9 months, and that pregnant mom is the only viable alternative (at least so far, unless we pursue artificial environments for the baby through science) to letting that 3rd person die. But, nobody has ever claimed that mom has no alternative to raising the child for life. Adoption agencies are crying for newborn babies. There are pro lifers all over the country who would take in such a child. What the pro-choice crowd hates is that a lot of moms, if they had to keep their children until birth, would bond with their children and choose to keep them for life, thus rejecting the whole pro choice ethic. Which demonstrates that, deep down, it is not choice itself, but the particular choice of abortion, that they want to preserve.

    I realize this is way behind the curve, but I’m just getting into this Lutheran Blogger stuff.

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