After South Dakota’s voters rejected the abortion ban last November, the legislature is now offering a “plan b”. This time, the bill they’re introducing has exceptions for rape and incest. Polling data of South Dakotans said that the bill would have passed overwhelmingly if the ban had included those exceptions in the first place. Judie Brown, President of American Life League expressed her concern on her blog for “South Dakota’s Spirit of Despair“.
When the people of South Dakota voted last year to reject the state’s
abortion ban, they did so by a margin of ten percent (55% to 45%). What
that should have told the pro-life people of the state is that they
were nearly there, and with a little more education, a little more
explanation of why rape and incest exceptions are never a good thing,
and a whole lot of prayer, they could have come back in two years and
… perhaps won
But no, instead they have capitulated to the vocal demands for exceptions that we heard during the campaign last year.
What a rotten shame. Let us pray for the people of South Dakota;
that their despair may be replaced by a courageous commitment to babies.
Then and only then will “public opinion” change.
I’m inclined to agree with her. As she points out, we are almost there. In fact, that 75% of the SD voters say they are pro-life is a good indication that atleast 10% might be persuaded, probably more, that the exceptions don’t make sense. Most people who are in favor of the exceptions, haven’t really given it much thought. It’s more like a knee-jerk reaction. I mean who doesn’t have sympathy for a woman who is victimized by rape or incest? But upon further reflection, does it make the baby any less of a person? Does the baby deserve to be punished for the crime of the father? Does aborting the baby help the mother cope with what has happened to her? Evidence says the contrary. Couldn’t a little more discussion on this help sway public opinion?
The exceptions of rape and incest contradict the truth of the matter, that the unborn child is a human being with the unalienable right to life. That’s the principled reason for opposing such exceptions, and will probably be the reason the supreme court will consider the law ill written. How can you say that the unborn child is a person, worthy of protecting their unalienable right to life, and then turn around and say that it’s lawful to violate that right, though he has committed no crime?
Many in the pro-life movement will argue that “we have to deal with reality” and since the majority of the voters would support a ban with the exceptions, “shouldn’t we attempt to save some lives, even if we can’t save all of them?” Many of these same pro-lifers said that it wasn’t the time to introduce a ban, because we didn’t yet have a majority on the supreme court on our side. Perhaps they should be considering whether or not we could wait anther two years and work really hard to persuade that small percentage who would have been with us, had it not been for the lack of exceptions. How do they know that this law won’t be challenged in court, and eventually be thrown out.
Jill Stanek poses some challenges to the two camps in the pro-life movement in her column today, Quanderies for Pro-Life Incrementalists and Purists. She equally criticizes both camps. I believe those with my position and Judie Brown’s are being called the “purists”. But I think she mischaractarizes us. For example I’ve not heard anyone say the following quote of hers from an un-named “purist”.
In response to the revised ban, one purist wrote, “I’m tempted to see the exceptions over no law at all, but that is temporal politics, and politics is
compromise, so morally and publicly I say, ‘no exceptions!’, even if it
means no ban!”
She concludes about the “purists”:
This all-or-nothing approach would seem to reject
Holocaust rescuers or the Underground Railroad, but it is only applied
to politics. For instance, it is acceptable to picket abortion mills as
a last attempt to save babies rather than focus all energies on
shutting mills down.
I have not been able to verify the source
of that comment. I don’t think those of us who would prefer to work toward a total
ban would rather see no ban at all, but we do want to make sure that we put our
efforts into the best solution, which is to end all legalized abortion. And
sometimes, we feel our energy is wasted on contradictory laws. And in some cases, not all, these incremental approaches work to further enshrine abortion in the law.
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