Monday, August 18, 2008

We should let families decide: Vote no on Initiated Measure 11

by Marv Buehner

Rapid City Journal, Sat August 16, 2008

In 2006, South Dakotans had a thorough and thoughtful debate about banning abortion, and we decided that such inflexible government intrusion into private medical decisions is wrong. Last year, our legislators seemed to accept the public’s message, rejecting another abortion ban attempt.

Now, activists are pushing another abortion ban on voters. Initiated Measure 11 is another ban to divide communities, waste precious resources and distract attention from the issues that really concern most South Dakotans. This ban also does nothing to address the larger issue of unintended pregnancies.

Anti-abortion extremists are still willing to bet South Dakota tax dollars that they can ban abortions nationwide. While it is frustrating to have to repeat this debate so soon, I trust that South Dakotans will again use their values and good judgment in resisting another measure that could do much more harm than good.

Measure 11 would only allow a doctor to end pregnancies for health concerns if facing a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system of the pregnant woman.” Rape and incest victims would be required to report details about the incident and the perpetrator to law enforcement officials before the pregnancy could be ended. The victim would then have to be subjected to DNA analysis, and the doctor would have to collect and transfer custody of fetal DNA samples to law enforcement.

Since the failure to meet these very difficult standards could result in the doctor spending 10 years in prison and paying a $25,000 fine, this medical decision would have to be made by attorneys representing the doctor and hospital — attorneys who have no responsibility to the welfare of women and families. Because no physician is likely to risk career and freedom to provide services under these circumstances, this measure is essentially a total ban on abortions, which South Dakotans just overwhelmingly rejected.

These abortion bans represent the misuse of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to promote a narrow ideology forcing big government into the most private aspects of citizens’ lives. When South Dakota ranks last in teacher salaries and school districts are deciding whether to cut music or student counseling, spending millions of dollars defending an unconstitutional abortion ban is a colossal waste of resources. Especially since South Dakota already has the most stringent regulations and one of the lowest abortion rates in America. But there is a way to further reduce the number of abortions in a fiscally conservative way.

It is estimated that every dollar spent on family planning saves $3 in health care costs related to pregnancy. It has been shown around the world that the most reliable and most cost-effective way to minimize abortions is to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies, not to make them illegal.

It is time to move beyond abortion bans to public policies that will actually improve the health of our state and relieve the taxpayers of an unnecessary burden. Measure 11 further victimizes victims of sexual crimes, criminalizes medical care to sick pregnant women, and forces women to carry to term pregnancies that cannot survive outside the womb. Vote “no” on Measure 11 and urge our elected officials to begin addressing pregnancy prevention instead.

Thanks Marv, you said it well! The same page had Leslee Unruh's predictable rant that people that don't comprehensive health care for women hate babies.

If you don't think it's important to quietly vote 11 down again, I bring forward exhibit "A" from her typically sweet and innocuous defence of an absolutely brutal law:

It eliminates the use of abortion as a means of "birth control."

The quotes are code to her extremist base that she thinks birth control is simply a euphemism. For these social engineers this is just the beginning.

As we learned in 2006 These folks want to control women's choice of when and with whom to have children, it's that simple. They don't want our young people to understand birth control because they think it's wrong, which is okay, but they want to decide for everyone else.

Arguing with advocates like Leslee is useless because they are not interested in lowering the abortion rate, or the teen pregnancy rate.

As Russell Shorto of the NY Times back in 2006 ("Contra-Contraception", NYT, 5/7/2006) put it so well:

... [The anti-abortion conservative movement's] ultimate goal is not a number — the percentage of abortions or unintended pregnancies — but an ideal, a way for people to think and behave.

It's about control. Their control, not yours or your family's.

Now, who was Bob Ellis saying is anti-family, anti-American, and anti-God?

I mean, really.

Please work to defeat 11.


  1. Thanks for posting that, CP.

    More Magazine recently did an interesting article on Leslee Unruh. She lives in a parallel universe, certainly.