Another state you
should never visit passes an appalling abortion ban, because they hate you
By Mark Morford
Attention all funky sexy single intelligent women of South Dakota (assuming there are any left):
It is time. Pack it up. Strip the bed, box up the cat, load the U-Haul, call your hip friends over in Minneapolis, move out West, or East, or anywhere with a mind-set not stuck like a bloody nail in the moral coffin of 1845. Let this be your clarion call. Get the hell out, right now.
Here is why: Your state hates you. Your state, apparently run by pallid sexless demagogic men who think they know something of God and morality but know only ignominy and the smell of sulfur and death in their nightmares, thinks you are irresponsible dumb-ass meat, unable to handle your own decisions, your own body, your sex. Your state's leaders and your Republican governor, Mike Rounds, wish to treat you like meaningless, voiceless chattel. Get out now. You already know why.
For everyone else reading this, here is the nauseating news: South Dakota, in case you missed it amid the reports of increasingly violent civil war in Iraq, the Dubai ports fiasco and Bush's record-low approval ratings across the board, has just passed a sweeping anti-abortion measure that completely bans the procedure in almost all cases -- including rape, including incest, including if you were, for some ungodly reason, accidentally knocked up by South Dakota neocon anti-choicers like Republican and bill sponsor Rep. Roger W. Hunt, these baggy slabs of pallid manhood who wouldn't know true female sexual pleasure from a hole in a mattress. Or is that being too kind?
And why? Why have these lawmakers rammed this law down South Dakota women's throats and why is it so likely that Gov. Rounds will sign it into law, when the state is already one of the most bitterly restrictive, the most difficult in the nation in which to get an abortion?
Why, for the sole purpose of having the invidious law challenged all the way to the newly realigned, neocon-approved, anti-woman Supreme Court, where the backers of the hateful law hope to finally claim the Big Prize, the great gold ring of self-righteous sex-hating fundie Christians everywhere: challenging Roe v. Wade, maybe even (gasp) overturning the single most female-empowering law in the last 50 years. Wouldn't that be swell?
Here's a fascinating aspect: Most women are stunned by this news. Most women not living in one of the few remaining prehistoric red states cannot believe their ears, eyes, souls. I've told a number of my youngish female friends of this hideous development and they all respond the same way: stunned silence, then "You can't be serious," then this ashen "Oh my God" feeling of utter horror, followed by, "Does anyone else know this? Why isn't this making bigger headlines? Where the hell is Oprah?" Etc.
See, modern women under 40, they simply don't accept it. They have no conception of a world in which they don't have complete control over their flesh, their reproductive rights, their sexuality. For most women of this generation, reproductive choice is simply a fundamental, incontrovertible human right, obvious and ironclad and indisputable, and so to hear that it's being deeply threatened in this back-ass BushCo world is so foreign, so surreal, it induces an immediate cringing recoil, like watching Tom Cruise stick his tongue in Katie Holmes' face, like watching flies feed, like seeing Dick Cheney naked. It simply does not compute.
No matter. South Dakota's leaders, much like those in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi -- who've all introduced similar hateful, anti-choice measures -- don't care about women. They don't care about rights. But they care a great deal about power, about self-righteous ideology, about the ever-present egomaniacal male need to control, dominate, imprison that which it cannot understand. They care about suppression.
Here's another sordid detail: South Dakota passed its new ban without a referendum. Translation: The frigid neocons who wrote the law didn't actually have the nerve to allow South Dakota's own citizens to vote on it, because they knew the odds were too great that a majority of the state wouldn't accept it. See, even in a conservative red state the people know when a law has gone too far.
And then, the kicker: The stage is now set for a major legal battle over the new draconian law, a battle which will cost millions. The neocons say they've already received a bizarre pledge of a million bucks from some anonymous woman-hating Christian rightist to help defray the legal costs. But it won't be nearly enough. Who gets to pay for the rest? South Dakota taxpayers, most of whom probably didn't want the damnable law in the first place. Ah, neocon politics. You're soaking in it.
Now, the good news. Most legal experts, even those from Christian "pro-family" anti-choice groups, are already saying the law has little chance of posing a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade. It's simply too draconian, too vile, too flagrantly unconstitutional. But then again, with Alito and Roberts on the bench, you just never know. Nastier things have happened. Just check the wiretap on your e-mail.
These are the things you need to know. We are at that point. We are right now at the apex of some great and dirty battle, some ugly siege, the nation so overrun by the Christian right that they finally get to make some sort of grand and desperate statement, a vicious volley of stabs to the heart of progress and sexual rights, before being run out of Congress this fall and Bush becomes a lame duck and the nation slowly wakes up from this catatonic Republican-bled haze.
The South Dakota lawmakers know. They've said as much, that this is the right time to attack, the opportunity possibly fleeting, the national gag reflex induced by these neocons not yet at full force. "I think the stars are aligned," said Matthew Michels, South Dakota House Speaker and Republican, referring to the appointments of Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court. "Simply put, now is the time."
Sure their odds may be long, but their hearts are black with passionate intensity.
Of course, with any luck, with any sort of divine feminine intervention, with any sort of national common sense, this sickening attack on female choice will quickly go the way of "intelligent design," of the Terry Schiavo zombies, of the WMD zealots. It will dissolve and implode like the nasty moral insult it so very is. We can only hope. And of course, vote, in November.
Until then, it would behoove the final dozen or so sexually attuned, lusciously feminine women in South Dakota -- not to mention every teenage girl within a 1,000-mile radius -- to pack their bags and book their tickets outta town before they lock the gates and start the fires. I hear Canada is lovely this time of year. What are you waiting for?