Last June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This decision allows each state full autonomy over the legality of abortion. Abortion has shown to be a controversial and motivating influence in past elections. Currently, signatures are being gathered to amend the state’s constitution to allow for nearly unregulated abortions during an entire pregnancy. This initiative is both unscientific,
According to a Gallup survey, 60% of Americans support abortions during the first trimester, while only 28% support abortions during the second trimester and 13% during the third.
While I dislike abortions during any point in pregnancy, I acknowledge the reality that the average American supports some abortion. However, this constitutional amendment would de facto legalize late-term abortions, against the wishes of the people.
The writers of this amendment could have permitted abortions through the first trimester and banned them after, something the average American would support . Instead, the writers chose to write vast legal loopholes during the second and third trimesters.
Under the amendment, a doctor would have full authority to decide if the fetus endangers the mother’s “health” (not life) at risk. Courts have previously ruled that health can be defined as social health, financial health or mental health, not just physical health.
In effect, doctors could qualify every pregnant woman for a late-term abortion because every pregnancy endangers some form of health. Doctors would also be completely free to receive a kickback for every abortion performed, a major conflict of interest.
Many of the signature-gatherers for the amendment also claim this initiative will “restore Roe.” That’s great, if it were true. Roe allowed for states to regulate abortion. This amendment allows for no regulation during the first trimester. The state of South Dakota would not be able to mandate any health or safety regulations for abortion, which is unreasonable and unsafe.
Philosophically, this amendment is incoherent. If we believe the premise that it is wrong to kill an innocent human being, and that adults are human beings, then there must exist an objective point that we become human beings. Whether an unborn child is wanted or loved by a mother has no impact on the beginning of human life.
We can have a scientific discussion about what point in pregnancy would mark the beginning of human life and make policy that reflects scientific evidence.
Instead, this amendment ignores objective reality and would allow for the killing of a baby that could live outside of the uterus. That’s not just wildly unpopular, that’s just wrong. It also sets terrible legal precedents that could be used to forcibly take adults off of life support.
Taking the life of what would become an adult human is fundamentally anti-choice. The fetus did not choose to exist, and a death sentence is not a reasonable punishment for the crime of simply existing.
The people of the state should get to vote on public policy, but that policy should be reasonable and its goals transparent. Therefore, when you’re inevitably asked to sign a petition to put this amendment on the ballot, I ask that you decline to sign.