Friday, February 24, 2006

Scalito, Roberts, and the End of Choice

It's not just an intellectual exercise, you know. This shit is happening, and it's not going to be good for us. When I say "us," I mean any of us. All of us.

The dipshits in South Dakota (I almost typed "Carolina" automatically) have recently decided that now is the time to fire another salvo in their War to Own Women, and have passed a law banning almost all abortions.
"It is a calculated risk, to be sure, but I believe it is a fight worth fighting," State Senator Brock L. Greenfield, a Clark Republican who is also director of the South Dakota Right to Life, told his colleagues in a hushed, packed chamber here.After more than an hour of fierce and emotional debate, the senators rejected pleas to add exceptions for incest or rape or for the health of the pregnant woman and instead voted, 23 to 12, to outlaw all abortions, except those to save the woman's life.

They also rejected an effort to allow South Dakotans to decide the question in a referendum and an effort to prevent state tax dollars from financing what is certain to be a long and expensive court battle.

To be enacted, the bill, the most sweeping ban approved in any state in more than a decade, requires the signature of Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, who opposes abortion.


In an interview this week, Mr. Rounds said he had doubts about whether now was the time to make a "full frontal attack" on Roe v. Wade, as opposed to pressing for more laws that restrict abortions — setting limits, for instance, on their timing, methods or the requirements for parental notification.

Those restrictions, he said, have immediate effects on preventing abortions in South Dakota.

Mr. Rounds suggested that the two approaches might be possible simultaneously, particularly as a way to keep opponents of abortion rights from splintering over strategy questions. The key, he said, was in "saving lives while at the same time appeasing a segment that says you won't know unless you try the direct frontal attack."

Lawmakers opposed to abortion rights here — and advocates opposed to abortion rights around the country — have been split over timing questions. Some argue that the arrivals of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the Supreme Court and speculation that Justice John Paul Stevens might soon retire, made now an ideal time to challenge Roe.

Others, however, have said a challenge should wait, for the arrival of additional justices who might be open to overturning Roe and for a shift in public opinion.

Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the South Dakota action — similarly broad bans have recently been proposed in at least five other states — reminded her of a wave of state challenges to Roe in the years just before 1992, when the Supreme Court reaffirmed a core right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

"People have this sense that the court is in flux and is shifting so they want to try to test out how far they can go," Ms. Northrup said. "The answer will be in how the new justices vote."

On Wednesday in the Senate chamber, any division about strategy among opponents of abortion rights seemed to have vanished.

"This state has a right and a duty to step up to the plate," Senator William M. Napoli, Republican of Rapid City, told his colleagues before he voted for the ban.

It passed by a margin larger than many on both sides had predicted.

Opponents, meanwhile, questioned the purpose of such a law and the potential costs of the litigation, and they recited harrowing stories of women who had become pregnant, for example, after having been raped.

"What can we as a state possibly gain by passing a bill that is unconstitutional?" asked Senator Clarence Kooistra, Republican of Garretson, who added that he represented the "silent majority" of South Dakotans who would not approve outlawing abortion nearly entirely.

Leaders of a movement against abortion rights in this state said they had raised $1 million in donations to help pay for the legal fight ahead.

"I didn't want money to be the reason people wouldn't vote for this bill," said Leslee J. Unruh, founder and president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, who said she could not disclose the identities of those who had pledged money. "We're concerned with the 800 children aborted here every year."

Emphasis mine.

Yes, yes. The All-Your-Uterus-Are-Belong-to-Us crowd is ready to go to the mattresses (ha ha) because they think they've got the Supremes on their side (and they're probably right). I like how they don't want a referendum on the issue, also. Why not? What's to fear, South Dakota legislators? And the military terminology? Come on. "Full Frontal Assault"?

If you are so interested in full frontal assaults, oh virile men of South Dakota, then you might consider looking here. 0300, bitches! The Marines are unparalleled assault troops, and full frontal assaults are part of the job. I understand that the Marines could use some extra bodies these days, too.

And, now, we turn to Mr. Brock Greenfield. TBogg was kind enough to provide us with his picture and resume. Stellar, indeed. It turns out that, since he's only 30, if the doughy fucker would lose a little weight, he could go enlist in the armed forces himself. He's a member of PRO Pheasants, so I assume he can handle a weapon at least as well as Vice President Dick Cheney. (Who recently blasted a 78-year-old-man in the face with a shotgun. While drunk.)

Jesus, he's one sad looking bastard, isn't he? A gas station attendant who moonlights as a state senator and arbiter of all things uterine. Think he might have issues with independent women, maybe?

ReddHedd at FireDogLake reminds us of some things that we should never forget. She shares a moving, personal tale that leads into a very important point. I couldn't do her story justice, so please go read it yourself.

Finally, what the fuck? The "Abstinence Clearinghouse"? Wouldn't you be pissed if they showed up at your door, and you thought it was gonna be Ed McMahon? I would.

Labels: , , , , ,