For those of you who haven't heard, South Dakota is basically just a governor's signature away from outlawing abortion. The proposed law declares that "life begins at conception, a conclusion confirmed by scientific advances since the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade..." Such a legislative finding strikes at the heart of Roe v. Wade because in that case the Court said (or seemed to say) two things: first, that they were not determining when life began, and second, that if it could be conclusively proved that life began at conception, then the State's interest in protecting life would be stronger than the woman's claim to abortion. I confess that whether or not this is an accurate interpretation of Roe is a disputable point.
But such a reading seems consistent with Roe. And it also seems consistent with Casey, the Court's main follow-up to Roe. In Casey the court stressed the point of viability as the point at which the state's interest in protecting life was compelling enough to trump the woman's right to an abortion. It really seems the relevant question, whether the Court is directly addressing it or not, is when does life begin?
Regardless of this interpretation's accuracy, it seems this is the interpretation motivating South Dakota lawmakers. With this bill, South Dakota is attempting to set up a court battle in which, unlike in Roe, the Court actually gets to the question of when life begins.
[Just a final note: I think this may be a bit premature. Until there's another liberal/moderate Justice replaced on the Court, there are still 5 Justices who would likely uphold abortion rights, whether under principles of stare decisis or because they think it's the right thing to do. Remember, Kennedy went w/ the majority in Casey, affirming abortion rights.]
No more mystery meat.
No more gym. No more gym. No more gym. No more gym!