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calendar   Monday - January 23, 2006

The Gathering Storm

It looks like stormy weather is moving into South Dakota and the first major skirmish in the war against abortion will begin here. Look for this one to get real nasty. It should hit SCOTUS in about a year and forty-nine other states will be watching. Everybody get out your protective gear. This promises to be a really bad storm ...

imageimageSouth Dalota Legislature To Consider Abortion Ban
(KELO-TV)

In the next six weeks, South Dakota lawmakers will decide whether to make abortion a crime. A bill that would ban abortion in the state will be introduced within the next two days. The bill will be called the Woman’s Health and Life Protection Act. It will ban abortion, but won’t prosecute a doctor who performs one to save a woman’s life. And the lawmaker who’s introducing the bill says he thinks now is the right time to try and over-turn Roe vs Wade.

Rep. Roger Hunt says, “Abortion should be banned.” Those four words will likely lead to many others in the South Dakota House and Senate as lawmakers will decide whether to criminalize abortion in the state. The bill’s supporters are using findings from a controversial abortion task force report recently given to the legislature. Hunt says, “DNA testing now can establish the unborn child has a separate and distinct personality from the mother. We know a lot more about post-abortion harm to the mother.”

The legislature debated a similar bill two years ago, but Governor Mike Rounds vetoed it because of concerns over some technicalities. Hunt says, “We have made those corrections to the bill.” Sunday, Hunt and other anti-abortion advocates held an event promoting their legislation. They say now is the time to pass it, because other states are considering similar bills and because with new Chief Justice John Roberts, and possibly Samuel Alito, the US Supreme Court is changing.

Hunt says, “Two very solid, we feel, pro-life candidates. Again you never know but based on their testimony to the senate we feel they’re good candidates.” Hunt says he thinks enough other lawmakers support the bill for it to pass, but he still thinks the decision will be a close one. He says, “I learned a long time ago the only time you really count the votes is when you’re taking the votes.”

Hunt will also introduce two other bills this week. One is meant to ensure doctors explain the risks of an abortion to a woman is writing. The other deals with sex education and says school districts need to include principles in their curriculums dealing with abstinence and personal responsibilities.

And in Minnesota, protesters gathered Sunday on the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade to begin the fight in that state. Elsewhere, across the country and in DC, protesters geared up for the coming war ...

imageimageDemonstrators Mark Roe V. Wade Anniversary
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)

Thousands of abortion opponents massed outside Minnesota’s Capitol on Sunday in one of several protests nationwide on the 33rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, amid heightened hopes and fears over what a new face on the Supreme Court will mean for the decision establishing abortion rights.

A crowd of sign-wavers clad in parkas, winter boots and collars turned up against a cutting wind to call for a ban on public funding of abortion. “We must stop abortion in our state,” said Scott Fischbach, head of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. “Things are changing in this country.” Many abortion opponents said they were heartened by President Bush’s choice of Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a moderate who was often the court’s swing vote.

Alito, who appears to have solid support from the Senate’s Republican majority, refused during his confirmation hearings to agree with assertions by Democrats that Roe v. Wade was “settled law,” upsetting supporters of abortion rights and heartening opponents. “We have a dream today that someday soon this will not be an anniversary of sadness, but an anniversary of justice restored,” said Minnesota’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

In San Francisco, thousands of abortion opponents shouldering signs with slogans such as “Peace Begins in the Womb” marched Saturday, while abortion rights supporters along the march route waved clothes hangers and shouted “Bigots go home.” “Abortion rights have been slowly whittled away while we haven’t even been looking,” said Kitty Striker, 22, who decorated her hair with small coat hanger replicas for the counter-protest. “That’s what’s so shocking and so scary to me.”

In Idaho, nearly 400 abortion protesters marched at the Statehouse Saturday, including Reid Richardson and his 5-year-old stepdaughter, Allie Zebley, who carried sign with her ultrasound photo and the words, “This is me at 16 weeks.” About half that number gathered Sunday outside the Idaho Capitol in support of abortion rights. “When American women are barred from accessing health services at the whim of a politician’s religious beliefs, we are not in a democracy at all,” said Bree Herndon-Michael, a member of the Idaho Women’s Network.

The largest abortion demonstration was expected Monday in Washington, D.C., where anti-abortion activists planned to converge on the mall to hear speakers supporting their cause and march on the Congress and Supreme Court. Many who support abortion rights held a candlelight vigil in front of the Supreme Court Sunday night, waving signs that read: “Alito-No Justice For Women,” and “Keep Abortion Legal.”

The nation’s high court made abortion legal on Jan. 22, 1973. But efforts to restrict or outlaw the procedure have been just as enduring; 34 states have passed laws requiring parents either to be notified or to give consent when their underage daughters seek abortions. This year, abortion foes in Minnesota will try to encourage the Legislature to ban public funding of abortions for Medicaid recipients, which has been required since a 1995 state Supreme Court decision. They are also campaigning against the re-election of a justice who supported the decision.

In Michigan, a group of ministry leaders used the anniversary to launch a new anti-abortion organization, Michigan Chooses Life. One goal is to support efforts to get a measure on the 2006 ballot that would change the state constitution to legally define a person as existing at the moment of conception. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has said that even if the measure does succeed, it will be challenged in court.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/23/2006 at 07:15 AM   
Filed Under: • Abortion •  
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