Incredulously, South Dakota has passed its statewide ban on abortion.
The clock has been turned back on women’s reproductive rights, and, instead of being another first-world country alongside European countries, Canada and Australia, we are headed in the direction of the Middle East, where we are ironically fighting for Arab freedom.
The United States has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the industrialized world, and the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates are the conservative states of Mississippi and Texas. The lowest: liberal Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Thanks in part to former Gov. Gray Davis and his predecessor and their support of laws which provided easy access to family planning services, California’s teen pregnancy rate dropped 40 percent between 1992 and 2000. Between 1988 and 1992, teen birthrates throughout the country increased; however, during the eight years of the Clinton administration, they fell dramatically, at which time they were at an all-time low in all states, excluding Texas.
Today, pro-choice California is ranked first in the nation in preventing accidental pregnancy. South Dakota, on the other hand, is ranked 44th. It’s interesting how these two phenomena often coincide: the anti-choice mentality and soaring rates of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies.
Even more incredulous than the unfortunate passage of this law in South Dakota is that even in cases of rape and incest, abortion is still illegal. A rapist breaks into a woman’s home, rapes and impregnates her, and she is forced to give birth to the rapist’s offspring. A child is impregnated by her own father, and she is also forced to give birth. This fundamental lack of respect for women, our bodies, our choices, and the wise decision to bring someone into this world when he/she will be loved, nurtured and properly cared for is misogyny at its worst.
Predictably, anti-choice individuals will respond to the pro-choice stance with one alternative: adoption. However, only when the millions of currently unadopted children across the country — and even more around the world — have been adopted and lovingly cared for instead of the present reality of their jumping from foster home to foster home and countless other temporary placements can we, without hypocrisy, intelligently address that argument. Until then, I mourn for the women and young girls in South Dakota who have lost their inalienable right to choose.
— Tina Aschenbrenner, Thousand Oaks