Monday, March 06, 2006

Low Times and High Irony in South Dakota

South Dakota governor Mike Rounds today did what all good governors are supposed to do and put his state squarely on the front page of the national news. Unfortunately, it's not good news - at least not from this vantage point.

Rounds signed a bill that will ban most abortions in South Dakota - if it is upheld in the courts. The bill criminalizes all abortions save for those necessary to save the woman's life - it makes no exceptions for rape, incest, or for any other mitigating circumstances.
Rounds, along with pro-lifers nationwide, see the South Dakota bill as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. And, in case the Supreme Court needed a refresher, Rounds made sure to point out, in his comments accompanying the bill, that the court has reversed itself in the past:
The reversal of a Supreme Court opinion is possible. For example, in 1896, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Plessy versus Ferguson case that a state could require racial segregation in public facilities if the facilities offered to different races were equal. However, fifty-eight years later, the Supreme Court reconsidered that opinion and reversed itself in Brown versus Board of Education. It proclaimed that separate could not produce equal. The 1954 Court realized that the earlier interpretation of our Constitution was wrong.

Am I the only one that thinks Rounds' choice of legal precedent is a questionable one? Yes Plessy and its companion Brown represent an issue that similarly divided the country the way that the abortion question does today.

But there the comparisons end.

The Warren Court, in overruling Plessy, made a clear statement that the imposition of the majority's view upon a minority group (in this case minority schoolchildren) unable to adequately protect their own interests would not be tolerated in this country.

If the current Roberts court looks to Plessy and to Brown, as Rounds suggests, they should overwhelming and unhesitatingly affirm Roe v. Wade. The South Dakota bill, much like the statute mandating segregated railway cars that was at issue in Plessy, seeks to impose the will of the majority on a largely defenseless minority. Today, in South Dakota, that minority is composed of the numerous women, many of whom are below the voting age, who are unable to vote their opinion, unwilling (for fear of retribution and condemnation) to voice their opinion, or both.

Rounds may win his abortion fight, but his lawyers better dig up some more compelling legal precedent before they hit the courtroom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what happens when laws decide a womans life: Online surgical abortion course...

Fri Mar 17, 06:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger Tim Kanwar said...

This is incredible. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, it deserves it's own post.

Wed Mar 22, 10:27:00 PM EST  

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