Sunday, February 26, 2006

I now have yet another reason to suspect that the South Dakota bill banning all abortions is completely unethical. Jill of Feministe blogged about this article, which basically states that, since the legal costs of fighting this bill in court are likely to be around $1 million, the state government is now looking toward private funders. That's right -- the state doesn't even have the money, and I'm betting that taxpayers wouldn't accept the burden -- so a few rich people are going to try to determine public policy. I'd be really curious right now to see what South Dakota's population thinks about this ban.

"Clearly the state can use taxpayer dollars," Sarah Stoesz of Planned Parenthood said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they could devise a scheme to use these donated funds. What it does underscore, there is a belief that the taxpayers don't want to pay for this, and consequently the only way to get something done that the taxpayers don't want to pay for and that the politicians don't want to pay for, the only way to do this is to find a private, anonymous person who will effectively purchase public policy that is not taxpayer or voter supported."

Is South Dakota pleased that one rich man (rumored to be Steve Kirby) is going to foot the bill (literally) to ban a procedure that many people are on the fence about? Hell, I'm willing to bet that this bill as it's written right now wouldn't pass a statewide vote. No allowances for trimester, health, rape, incest -- that's more strict than most attempted bans have been. 12 year old rape victims, women carrying terminal fetuses with no brain tissue, women at risk for paralysis or kidney failure -- all will be expected to serve as incubators for the duration. Even if you think life begins at conception (which is quite debatable, I see more life in my cat than in a clump of human cells), you have to believe that the woman's rights are outweighed by those of the "potential life" or fetus's. And this, of course, is where feminist groups come in. I don't see a law demanding that healthy people give up a kidney to save all those needing organ transplants -- are their lives less valuable somehow? Parents aren't required by law to donate a kidney even in the case of their own children -- how is this any different from expecting a woman to donate her body and her bodily tissue to a zygote? The only difference, in my eyes, is that a zygote is not a "person" in the same sense as a child with kidney problems.

What also strikes me as problematic about the SD ban, is that even in cases of the woman's life being in immediate danger, no one in SD will be able to perform the abortion. As it is, they're flying doctors in, what happens when no doctors who know how to abort a pregnancy are in the state? Women in immediate jeopardy will likely have to go to another state (and probably will want to, too -- would you really feel safe with a doctor that's never done a procedure operating on you?).

Getting back to the point of this article: is it morally troubling to anyone else that this SD bill sets a precedent for the rich backing whatever government action they approve? Haven't we seen how easily this can go wrong with the lobbying scandals?

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