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Welcome to South Dakota, Where Abortion Seeking Women aren’t People, Freedom of Religion Means Nothing, and Democracy is a Rule Just Begging to be Broken

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Well Hello There Stranger!

I see you’ve come to visit us in South Dakota. I’ll bet you were thinking this would be a good place to eat some hot dish, get a sweat- shirt with howling elk on it, pet a bison, feel your heart swell with anti-environmental more than a little racist patriotism, and so on.

Perhaps you were drawn in by the promise of landscapes such as these:


Uh. Oops. Not that one.

That's More Like It.

And This Too!

And So On.


My Personal Submission for Best Swimming Hole in the Universe.

Ah, South Dakota! Heart of America! Come for the Overwhelming Whiteness and Highest Rates of Rape, Stay for the Real American Values! Freedom! The Poorest County In The Nation! The Corn Palace! Cosmos Mystery Area (Multiple Entendres!)! A Great Whopping Monument to Democracy! Soybeans! A State Bird that is Actually an Invasive Chinese Species (Hackneyed Joke About How It’s All A Metaphor!)!

And yet, my friend. I must tell you something. Here, have some kuchen (it’s the state dessert!) while you listen. And some cream corn and orange jello with julianned (cause fancy!) carrots,  raisins and miracle whip in it.

You see, our esteemed Gov. Daugaard (this is the sound a bison makes through it’s nose when taking a hard poop, trufax) has recently signed into law H.B. 1217, which requires all abortion seeking women to undergo a 72 hour waiting period (but don’t despair, you can’t still buy a gun and get married much more quickly. Priorities!) AND to undergo pre-abortion counseling at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.

In order for the sole doctor who flies in once a week to perform abortions on the Eastern side of the state (it’s a big state, enjoy your 8 hour drive through the vasty nothingness!), to actually perform an abortion, that doctor must receive paperwork proving that said woman has undergone this “counseling.”

Here’s the fun and special, super-freedom, democratic, constitutional, excellent eagle with a single tear justice for all real American values catch: the CPC is under no legal obligation to provide such paperwork to either the abortion seeking woman or her doctor. In fact, neither of them has any legal recourse to make the CPC provide such proof. The woman could come to the CPC for “counseling” with three witnesses and a public notary, and this would not be sufficient for the doctor to legally perform an abortion.

Another fun fact: South Dakota has voted down a ban on abortion, twice. Now, my kuchen eating friend, enjoy this bison steak and venison sausage with frybread while I explain the gosh darned seriousness of it all.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers in South Dakota are all, without exception, arms of Christian outreach ministry programs. They are religious organizations (who also receive money from the state, because Constitutional Values!), who are not bound by HIPAA, are not required to have any licensed trained medical staff, and whose “counselors,” are not required to be trained or licensed.

That is to say, women seeking abortions in the state of South Dakota are now legally required visit a christian “counselor,” who may (probably) has no actual education or training as a counselor of anyone, is explicitly anti-choice, and has the legal ability to tell anyone and everyone that said woman was/is seeking abortion services. Including her abusive partner if she has one. Who may well have deliberately sabotaged her birth control, because that is a well documented facet of abuse.

Oh, and these people have revocation power over whether a woman who does not want to be pregnant remains pregnant. Pregnancy can end in many ways, but trust when I say that abortion is far and away the safest of all of the ways that pregnancy can end.

Of course, the burden is now on our great state (all 800,000 of us!) to prove that pregnant, abortion seeking women are not constitutionally people, with a right to privacy, freedom of religion, and freedom in making medical choices.

They should also have to prove that they aren’t fucking racketeering fascists who will gleefully subvert democracy when it suits them, but I doubt it will come up.

Now, why the Governor signed this thing into law, I cannot tell you. Planned Parenthood has already announced that they will take this to court.

And they will win, because this is a huge overstep.

We are not a wealthy or densely populated state (except in terms of Midwestern nice! We have So Much of That!), and we have a budget crisis that has been “solved” by making deep cuts to education and Medicaid, resulting the loss of somewhere between 800-1,000 jobs, and also us eating our fucking seed corn.

In short, we don’t have the fucking money to try and be all “the state has a right to legally enact our hatred of women!” and get our legal fannies kicked.

We shouldn’t be doing this because it is wrong, wrong wrongity wrong.

It is like compelling a person of color to receive “counseling” from a white supremacist. The anti-choice position is, and has always been about hating women and their autonomy and sexuality. No-one should ever be compelled to listen to someone who hates them, in order to make a private choice about their body and their life.

It is absolutely abusive and coercive in the very worst and most open way to compel anyone to submit to a religion not of their choosing in order to receive medical care that it their constitutional right. It is degrading and insulting to women to suppose that we haven’t already considered out choices, seeing as we are, you know, sentient fucking humans.

Lest you think that this on of those stupid dumb lady things, I would argue that it is an insult to everyone who voted a ban down twice. It is an insult to and a mockery of the democratic system.

This is why the whole abortion fight is a litmus test both for misogyny and for trying out unconstitutional laws on the populace. You know the drill, “first they came for the women and I said nothing….” and so on.

So, I encourage people who care about women, who are pro-choice, who are pro-democracy, who believe in the democratic model and in our constitutional rights–  protest the hell out of this nonsense, loudly. Talk about it. Expose it to the light. Come and protest with us.

Note: I will NOT tolerate any debate about abortion as such in the comments, so don’t even try it. Anti-choice trolling will earn you a perma-ban that will never, ever be lifted. This is a pro-choice blog, and the bullshit arguments of anti-choicers are not welcome here.




About Pepper

Pepper Lee Hales is a twenty something, married, vicious feminist liberal. She likes dogs, cats, spiders, epistemics and cake.

8 responses »

  1. *Cue troll posting some sweet hacked up baby parts from a pro-life campaign poster in 1992*

    Is it just me or do Anne Geddes photos freak you the fuck out.

  2. I’m sorry, I can’t leave a useful, helpful, or even sympathetic comment. Why not? Because things like H.B. 1217 send me into a ranting, incoherent rage that can only adequately be answered with blood. I try to type sense, but I merely end up spluttering. So I’ll limit myself to a simpel question: What is wrong with these people?

  3. Pfft, have you ever SEEN a buffet of various jello salads? This is the Midwest, we jello like we MEAN IT. Until you’e seen lemon and lime jello layered with miracle whip, fruit cocktail from a can and cottage cheese, with raisins and walnuts, you don’t know freaked out.

    I am a happily childfree woman, so I’m (obviously) not in love with babies or children in general. They’re like fish– I accept that other people looooooove it soooooo much, but it’s not for me, and it’s highly suspect in environmental terms.

  4. @MM

    Oh yeah no. Me too. It’s so wrong that it would be a laughably weak plot in a second wave seventies feminist-sploitation flick. BUT HERE WE ARE!

    All that I can surmise is that anti-choicers are a. really god damned misogynist and terrified of pleasurable, safe sex, because then they would have to get past the gender scripts and actually figure their shit out and lady hating is so much easier.

    And b. Many fair to middlin’ Americans, especially of the younger variety who are lukewarm anti-choicers have a very fluffy idea of pregnancy, what kinds of state assistance is actually available, and what it really truly means to rear a child unprepared. I don’t think that it can be overstated how little knowledge there is about how many ways being pregnant can fucking kill you, especially if you don’t have proper pre-natal care. I think if you asked these people if it would be fair to draft women into a very physical war where they had a high chance of permanent injury or death, they’d be all “ZOMG no way!”

    Otherwise, I don’t even fucking know, and it makes me overflow with bitter hatred that even one woman could be compelled to sacrifice her privacy, religious freedom and agency into the hands of the lying sacks who run CPC’s.

  5. Fuck Jello. Seriously. I would hate the Midwest for Jello if I didn’t have the stretches of 50 featureless miles of road between gas stations to hate.

  6. Well, I would eat all of the hideous jello salads in the world if this anti-choice bullshit would cease.

  7. I applaud your level of commitment to the pro-choice cause. I also support your right to choose to eat such a hideous jello salad dish even if it does offend my sensibilities.

  8. Yeah, I also write letters to the editor and donate to planned parenthood. Sadly, unlike my state government, my own sense of fair play prevents me from fucking racketeering. And I’m not even a huge proponent of being better than them, but holy hot dish, I am better than that .


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