Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
Yes. I’m concerned about choice every year. For every pro-choice proponent tracking activity surrounding clinical services, legislation, and education there is an anti-choice advocate passionately working against our right to choose. I suspect the year 2011 will be deceptively quiet all the while having a constant flow of anti-choice activism behind the scenes whose work we will not see demonstrated until 2012. As prochoice advocates we cannot be diligent only during open sessions or election years. We must remember the ways in which females and their rights are being accosted on a daily basis by people and through discourse. Whether we are working with a pro-choice or anti-choice majority, females are being harassed outside abortion providing clinics, abortion providers have to watch their backs for anti-choice zealots and females have to negotiate their way around some pharmacists who cite their personal religious beliefs as the reason they refuse to distribute safe and effective contraception. Birth centers who advertise to pregnant youth by falsely claiming they present all options will remain in operation, in some states parental notification laws will still force teens to carry through with an unwanted pregnancy, anti-choice propaganda will remain readily available in all media, and abstinence only curriculum will continue to be taught.
I currently live in South Dakota. Anyone who has followed anti-choice legislation is well aware of who and what South Dakota is up against. There have been two attempts to ban abortion here in South Dakota, one in 2006 and the other in 2008. Both failed, but barely. The 2006 attempt included a ban on abortion for rape victims when that failed, the language of the 2008 proposed bill attempted to appear less harsh on women by excluding rape victims from the ban. Because that failed as well, I believe South Dakota can expect another attempt to ban abortion with strategic efforts to word the bill in such a way that will appeal to the less than 10% of voters whose votes ultimately stopped the bill from passing. Yes. I am concerned about choice every year.
NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota
Note: Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, Alisha Sedor, had the following to add:
“Though we have seen anti-choice gains in an already anti-choice legislature, NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota is not disheartened. We have fought to keep reproductive healthcare safe and accessible in South Dakota and will continue to do so in this unfavorable political climate. The citizens of South Dakota have spoken on this issue more than once, and it is clear that they oppose government interference in a woman’s right to choose. With the support of our members and friends, we will continue to work to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices.”