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Reflections on Ethics 52
Hypocrisy in South Dakota

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I have consistently taken a pro-choice attitude towards abortion. Even though I do have a personal discomfort with abortion, I support a woman's right to make a choice as long as the opponents of abortion present the alternative as an outright ban.

In an ideal world, there would be no abortion. Of course, in that ideal world there would be no rape, no incest, no crippling birth defects, no poverty, no failed marriages, no failed romances, no mental problems, and no risk to the life or health of the mother in giving birth.

That ideal world is a long way away.

However, the state of South Dakota has just passed an extremely restrictive abortion law which has been signed off by the Governor. That law bans abortion in every conceivable case except where the mother's life is at risk. Not health at risk, just life at risk.

Rape? Bear the child for nine months as a daily reminder that your body has been violated - that is now the law in South Dakota.

Incest? Bear the child for nine months as a daily reminder that your body has been violated by a member of your own family - that is now the law in South Dakota.

Severe defects in the fetus? Bear the child for nine months knowing you are going to give birth to an infant with short life expectancy of low quality - that is now the law in South Dakota.

Mother's health at risk? Bear the child for nine months knowing this might be your last opportunity to have any child - that is now the law in South Dakota.

As the Governor said in signing the law:

In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society.

How does South Dakota rate on treating the most vulnerable and most helpless in its society?

- 34th out of the 50 states in percent of children who are in poverty

- 44th out of the 50 states in per-pupil school expenditures

- 46th out of the 50 states in the percentage of women who receive pre-natal care.

- and now with this new law it will rank 50th out of the 50 states in treatment of the victims of rape and incest.

And what will happen to those who want an abortion? If they can scrape up the money, they will simply head to a neighboring state or north to Canada and they will obtain a legal abortion. This law will affect only the poor, again the most vulnerable and most helpless in South Dakota society.

Those legislators who passed this bill and the Governor who signed it into law are nothing more than hypocrites. They don't give a damn for the most vulnerable and most helpless.