An abortion ban, similar to the previous ban that was soundly rejected by voters in November 2006, will be introduced into the South Dakota House of Representatives today. Lawmakers had announced earlier this week that a new draft of the ban would be submitted soon. The first ban was extreme, allowing for abortion only in instances to prevent the death of a woman. The revised ban, titled the "Women's Health and Human Life Protection Act," offers additional exceptions, though they are very narrowly defined.
In addition to preventing the death of a woman, an abortion may be obtained in cases of rape or incest, but the victim must report the rape to the police within 50 days, the physician must obtain a copy of the report record, and the victim must provide either the name and last known address or a description of the alleged rapist to law enforcement. Furthermore, the physician would be required to take blood samples from the woman and the fetus to be submitted to law enforcement.
There is also a health exception in order to prevent "a devastating and irreversible injury to the mother's health, which is likely to cause a very significant impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system, and which is likely to cause a very significant impairment of the quality of the mother's life."
The penalties outlined in the new bill, however, are much more severe than last year's bill. Any physician who performs an abortion outside the guidelines of the bill would be guilty of a class-four felony and could face up to 10 years in jail.
Women's health advocates also find the language of the act itself alarming. Beyond outlining the limits of abortion availability, the bill offers a lengthy description of the reasons abortion should be illegal, including that "the pregnant mother's relationship with her child is inherently beneficial to the mother" and that "abortion is an unworkable method for a pregnant mother to give up, surrender, or waive her fundamental right to her relationship with her child." This is reminiscent of abortion opponents trying to couch their arguments in "feminist" language during the 2006 election.
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature.
This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts.
In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .
6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas.
The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .