Let’s use common sense about abortion

Let's use common sense about abortion
I'm concerned about the upcoming (and recurring) fight over abortion in this state. Although it's always risky to generalize, three things come to mind when I consider South Dakotans as a whole:

1) They like to keep the government � any government � out of their lives as much as possible.

2) They want their government to spend their money wisely and for things that impact their lives, and they like to keep taxes to a minimum.

3) They tend more toward the center of most political issues; they usually disdain the radical positions of both left and right.

The South Dakota Talk Force to Study Abortion has just released its final report, and if its recommendations are adopted by the state legislature, they will challenge all three.

First, the report suggests that each fertilized egg should be accorded all the protections given to a newborn baby. That will insert the government, in some form or another, between a woman and her doctor and between a woman and some forms of birth control, sending those women back to the days of pregnancy roulette.

It will require somebody, most likely government, to make a decision about whose life is worth more: a woman whose health or life is threatened by the existence of her fetus, or the fetus itself. It will tie up the courts for years to come.

And speaking of the courts, the recommendations of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, if adopted as law in South Dakota, will certainly be challenged in court, and challenged immediately. The citizens of South Dakota will have to pick up the tab, and it will be a hefty one.

In a state where education funding, drought, highways and health insurance, among other considerable issues, are paramount in the minds of South Dakotans, funding of a fight over Roe vs. Wade and the legality of abortion will seem like a vastly inappropriate use of our limited tax dollars. Why should South Dakota, a small state with a comparatively small budget, fund the test cases?

Finally, the task force report clearly supports the most conservative position possible. It recommends that no abortions be performed in South Dakota � it allows no exceptions for life and/or health of the pregnant woman and no exceptions for rape or incest, either. It recommends that comprehensive, age-appropriate and parent-approved sex education be banned from the schools and abstinence from sex be the only message taught to our adolescents.

It recommends nothing to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies occurring in our state, and does not address issues of contraception and family planning, which would help women to make informed decisions about their bodies.

Nobody ever wants to have an abortion, but a significant majority in South Dakota believes that there are circumstances under which abortions should be available to our citizens. The time has come for civil discussion which will hopefully result in an abortion policy that considers both sides of the issue.

Please contact your state legislators and ask them to be reasonable, to use common sense in their votes on this complex issue. After all, God � or nature, depending on your belief system � gave women the task of carrying the young of our species. Women have done it for all of history, and done it well. Is it reasonable that now government should tell them precisely how and when?

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