Picture this. You need an abortion. You need one because you're poor, have too many children, or your health will suffer. You can argue that your life is in jeopardy if you carry the pregnancy to term, but you need three (3) doctors to certify this.
This is no made-up scenerio. It's Nicaragua, where exactly six legal abortions were performed last year, because every other kind of abortion has been outlawed. That doesn't mean that that cut down on the number of abortions. In fact, 32,000 unsafe, illegal abortions are performed each year, according to the New York Times. Could it happen here? If you live in South Dakota, the answer is yes.
The ban that was passed by the South Dakota legislature and signed into law by the governor (but stopped by a voter-sponsored initiative)has a familiar ring to the law passed in Nicaragua.
According to the Times:
The ban in Nicaragua comes two weeks before a hotly contested presidential election on Nov. 5, and opponents of the law say it was introduced now because no one dared to oppose it in the political climate.
Caught getting an abortion in Nicaragua and you and your doctor can get up to six years in prison, and the law is expected to add far harsher sentences. Maybe they'll draw and quarter you, or you'll get the chair. Apparently, they're seriously thinking of imposing a 30-year sentence. While I'm tempted to now go off on the power of the Catholic church in poor, developing nations where birth control and reproductive services are so desperately needed, I feel compelled to point out that South Dakota is attempting to pass the very. Same. Law.
Well I'd like to think that feminism, Roe v. Wade and our legal right to abortion has gotten us somewhere in this country, I'm terrified by the extremists who want to take us back to, well, Nicaragua.
If our like-minded, pro-choice voters stay home on Election Day in S.D., we could be looking at a similarly grim law. And it wouldn't stop there. The point of the S.D. abortion ban was to force the argument at the Supreme Court level. South Dakota, c'est moi.
If you haven't already, check out the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families site and give a hand, if you can.