Thursday, February 17, 2005

A new felony...


Abortion should be a crime in South Dakota if states are given the right to outlaw the medical procedure, a House panel recommended Friday. The State Affairs Committee unanimously approved HB1249, which would make it a felony to do abortions if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, is overturned. The bill would allow exceptions in cases where a pregnant woman's life is at risk.

Those who do abortions could face up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. The committee changed the bill to remove a provision that would have made it a crime to advise women to seek abortions. Rep. Joel Dykstra, R-Canton, the bill's prime sponsor, said it is designed to protect the rights of fetuses in case states are given the right to regulate abortion. Rachel Hansen of the South Dakota Right to Life Committee, which helped draft the bill, said abortion rights supporters are gearing up for a fight in case the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

"In South Dakota, House Bill 1249 would throw a monkey wrench right in the middle of that strategy," Hansen said. Rob Regier of the South Dakota Family Policy Council
urged the committee to pass the bill. "Send a message that South Dakota is more than just prepared to protect the unborn, but eager to," Regier said. Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood said the bill is one of the most extreme measures she has seen. The measure would tie physicians' hands and ignore women's ability to make decisions for themselves, she said. "Making abortion illegal never has and never will stop women from having abortions," Looby said, urging the committee to reject the bill. Jennifer Ring of the American Civil Liberties Union said the bill makes no provisions for abortions in cases where a woman's health is at risk or a fetus develops a potentially fatal condition. In such cases, women would be forced to allow the pregnancy to develop until it threatens their lives, Ring said.

HB1249 goes now to the House floor.

This is a fascinating bit of legislation. Many Americans (even some cops) are in favor of abortion. If Roe v. Wade were overturned (keep your fingers crossed) and the states were allowed to govern themselves, that would mean that South Dakota police offices would conceivably have to arrest women who tried to get abortions. Even though cops tend to be on the conservative side, surely there are some left-of-center officers out there who vehemently disagree with what this bill is trying to do. Would they look the other way if they ran into abortive "mothers" or abortion doctors? Abortion is such a socially charged issue, it would be hard for people to be objective, I would imagine.

As a very right-wing guy, I would have a slight tension if I had to pursue, arrest, or perhaps even apply deadly force to someone who, for example, burned down an abortion clinic in the middle of the night. I truly and honestly and deeply believe abortion is the full-fledged murder of a living innocent human being. Yet, in this country, I will be expected to enforce the law, and part of that law allows this act. That's tough. This isn't like thinking drugs should be legal. This is about life and death!

So, on the one hand, I can sympatheize with left wing South Dakota cops if they have to enforce this new felony law in the future. On the other hand, it's about time it was hard for liberals to be cops instead of just conservatives!

What do you all think about this out there? Should a pro-choice cop be forced to arrest an abortive woman? If not, then should a pro-life cop be allowed to look the other way when "his team" does something illegal as well?


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