Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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For most people who are against Referred Law 6, the abortion ban in South Dakota, their concerns are that a totalitarian principle that is designed to exercise control over vital, personal decisions is being pushed on the people behind a humanitarian facade. Despite all the baby-killer shouts and fury from the anti-freedom forces, hardly anyone is in favor of abortion. But the aspects of tryanny are in the totality of the ban.
In the time of slavery, slaves were encouraged to breed and have children. As soon as a woman became pregnant, the slave-holders asserted ownership over the incipient child. The woman was required to bring the fetus to term because it represented a salable asset to the slave-owner. Often, after the child was born and was weened, it would be taken from the mother and put into a regimen to train it for slavehood. Slave-owners inflicted terrible punishments on women who did not carry the chattel to term, whether deliberately or accidentally.
This control over women's bodies and lives is the major objection to the abortion ban. It announces that the state becomes the owner of women's bodies when they are pregnant and reduces women to the status of slaves to the state--although the state avoids any pecuniary or moral responsibility for the offspring that are produced by forced pregnancies, even if they result from rape or incest. The ban makes it a criminal offense not to carry a pregnancy to term.
Rep. Al Novstrup, R-Disrict 3, gave a demonstration of the despotic attitudes and actions of ban supporters at a forum at Northern State University early this month.
United Campus Ministries sponsored two sessions, one at noon and another at 5:30 p.m., on the Northern campus for the purpose of discussing the abortion ban. John Baskins of the UCM could not find anyone to speak against the ban. While I was out-of-town on an extended business trip, he left two messages on my answering machine asking if I would speak against the ban. Because of the rush of work at this time, days passed after I returned before I played back the telephone messages. However, I would have declined to appear at the forums.
People who are against the ban know better than to engage the anti-freedom forces in any kind of discussion. The Vote-Yes-For-Loss-of-Rights forces have carried their campaign to the point that anyone who engages them can be guaranteed to be insulted, abused, and subjected to the most inane and insane level of name-calling and vilification. The proponents of the ban come armed with all manner of false information (such as the totally fraudulent "study" report sponsored by the state legislature), and the public interest is not served by allowing them to give a recital of their lies and accusations.
Staff members of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families were invited to speak to the forums, but they declined. They did set up an information table in the lobby of the Union where the forums were to be held. They put up a sign on the table that said:"The views of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families will not be represented here today."
After the afternoon forum, Al Novstrup took it upon himself to remove the sign. As the sign did not advocate anything but merely informed people in the Union that the group would not be speaking, no one can figure why Novstrup did that, other than to put on a demonstration of tyrannical power.
When the noon session was over, Lindsey of the campaign staff approached Novstrup, who had the sign rolled up under his arm, in the lobby and asked if she could have the sign back. Novstrup held it out to her, but when she reached out to take it, he withdrew it and put it back under his arm.
This is the quality of representation District 3 has in Pierre.
The forums were not well attended. In fact, no one who opposes the ban appears to have shown up other than Campaign staff members who came to monitor the proceedings.
For the noon session, the attendees were Novstrup, his son David (also a candidate for the state house), David's wife Holly, attorney Rory King, Martin Albl of Presentation College, and two or three people wearing Vote Yes t-shirts.
At the evening session were Al Novstrup, his wife and daughter and a friend, two other women from Vote Yes, and a man who did not identify himself.
Novstrup recited his cant at the evening session. He stated that there were 30-50 women who had abortions and testified against before the state legislative committee. He did not mention that they were carefully pre-screened to insure their testimony supported the contrivers of the ban. He claimed that the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision announced that "abortion is good for women." He said the ban is a matter of due process. If a fetus had the same rights to due process that a serial killer has, he said, he would vote against the ban. If a fetus had the same 20-year window of appeals and delays that a convicted serial killerhas, the ban would not be needed.
He spoke against the evils of Planned Parenthood. He said they make their money from abortion and tell women that the fetus is "just a clump of tissue." Women counseled by Planned Parenthood do not see a doctor, he claimed, until they are on the operating table. He stated that 96 percent of abortions are for convenience and 80 percent are for birth control.
Attorney Rory King took a theological tack. He claimed that churches preached that abortion was wrong until the 1960s when they were infected by radical feminism. He claimed that pastors who were against the ban had abandoned God and scripture and had surrendered to the abortionists.
Thus are the actions and incisive minds of Al Novstrup and his merry band.[This account is from interviews with and notes taken by Lindsey and John of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.]