Wednesday, February 22, 2006

well, that didn't take long...

South Dakota legislature passes abortion ban

SIOUX FALLS, Feb. 22 — South Dakota became the first U.S. state to pass a law banning abortion in virtually all cases, with the intention of forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 decision legalizing the procedure.

The law, which would punish doctors who perform the operation with a five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine, awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Michael Rounds and people on both sides of the issue say he is unlikely to veto it.
''My understanding is we are the first state to truly defy Roe v. Wade,'' the 1973 high court ruling that granted a constitutional right to abortion, said Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood's South Dakota chapter.
State legislatures in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky also have introduced similar measures this year, but South Dakota's legislative calendar means its law is likely to be enacted first.
''We hope (Rounds) recognizes this for what it is: a political tool and not about the health and safety of the women of South Dakota,'' Looby said.
''If he chooses to sign it, we will be filing a lawsuit in short order to block it,'' she said after attending the afternoon debate at the state capital in Pierre.
Proponents have said the law was designed for just such a court challenge.
The timing is right, supporters say, given the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the high court. The two conservatives could pave the way to a decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The high court said Tuesday it will rule on whether the federal government can ban some abortion procedures, a case that could reveal whether the court reshaped by President Bush will restrict abortion rights.
In 1992, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the last direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The South Dakota law concludes that life begins at conception based on medical advances over the past three decades.
Proposed amendments to the law to create exceptions to specifically protect the health of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest, were voted down. Also defeated was an amendment to put the proposal in the hands of voters.
The bill as written does make an exception if the fetus dies during a doctor's attempt to save the mother's life.
Planned Parenthood operates the sole clinic in South Dakota where roughly 800 abortions are performed each year by doctors from neighboring Minnesota, Looby said.
Two years ago, Rounds vetoed a similar bill, saying it would wipe out existing restrictions on abortion while it was fought in the courts. A rewritten bill lost narrowly in the state Senate.
Some legislators opposed to abortion rights questioned whether it was premature to challenge Roe v. Wade, and said litigation would prove expensive for the sparsely populated state. An anonymous donor has offered $1 million to the state to defray the costs of litigation.

You Know You Are Still a Republican If ...

by Jimmy Lohman

You are more upset about Brokeback Mountain than Abu Ghraib.

You can’t stand Hilary Clinton’s hair but you have no problem with Tom DeLay’s.

You think Global Warming is no big deal but environmentalists are a major problem.

You support the "war on drugs" but think Rush Limbaugh is being prosecuted unfairly.

You think professional athletes make too much money but Sam Walton’s kids deserve everything they have.

You like the way George Bush walks.

You think Al Gore is "wooden" and Donald Rumsfeld has charisma.

You think CNN is biased but Fox News is neutral.

You like the sound of Newt Gingrich’s voice.

You are sure the United States has the best education and health care systems in the world.

You think Dick Cheney is a straight shooter.

You think Michael Chertoff’s beard makes him look distinguished.

You think the problem with our health care system is lawyers.

You think it was more important to locate Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress than to locate weapons of mass destruction.

You don’t believe "terrorism" has made Rudy Giuliani an incredibly rich man.

You believe freedom of speech covers everything Pat Robertson says and does, but burning a flag should be illegal.

You can be in the same room with Brit Hume.

You have yourself convinced that the country and world are better off now than 5 years ago.

Wednesday Night Open Thread

Aurora Surprise!

Take Action to Oppose Public Land Sell-Off!

Bush Budget Puts Our Public Lands on Blue-Light Special

As much as 800,000 acres of Americans’ public land would be sold into private hands under one egregious provision of President Bush’s proposed budget. Astonishingly, less than two months ago, bipartisan opposition in the Congress defeated a similar scheme. This latest proposal deserves the same reaction from all of us.

Take Action Call your Congressman

Kim and I posted some stuff on this in the comments earlier but just in case you missed it...

WaPo article

Take Action Contact Bureau of Land Management

All Points Broadcast



Nearly 100 dead in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan: Rights group

LONDON (AFP) - Nearly 100 prisoners have died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, the Human Rights First organisation said ahead of the publication of their report.

Semper Fi


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