Tuesday, October 24, 2006

South Dakota Abortion Ban: Call to Action

I got this email from a friend who is now living in South Dakota. If you've been missing the news, what with all the coverage that's piled on to both the Dakotas at this time of year, the state has a total abortion ban on the ballot. I'll let Teresa speak for the rest of this post.


I am living in the middle of a war zone. And we need your help.

South Dakota is about to decide historical legislation that would ban all abortions, including women who were impregnated from rape or incest. It is obvious South Dakotans are being used as a weapon by the fundamentalist extremists to test our federal legal system - if this passes it WILL go all the way to the US Supreme Court (and SD residents will pay for that battle.)

Also if this bill passes, the domino affect will provide the momentum for state after state to adopt equally repressive measures that will mark the swift disintegration of women's rights throughout the US and the world. Little do we here in SD know it, but what happens here could adversely affect women in Africa, South America and other developing countries of the world.

This threat is real the imminent - it very well could pass. It's pretty much even right now even though last week it was a better story. But, the extremists have decided to say that Plan B, the day after pill, would take care of any incest or rape victims, which apparently has changed many peoples' minds. And you know the extremists have millions of dollars to invest. They have done all the usual - gotten doctors to skew facts and statistics on commercials (luckily a Sioux Falls TV station ran a story about all the distortions - but how many people actually saw that?), and they have narrowed the issue to a simple moral issue with no other options. The worst of all, the majority who oppose the ban have been silenced.

People who live here are afraid to speak out against this legislation. I am continually disturbed at a peoples, whom I have always valued for their honesty, fearlessness and outspokenness, have become silent and afraid of social stigmas and loss of business. I recently moved back here to work on a project, and more than the physical isolation I feel living on this farm, I feel the social isolation.

This issue is dividing families, communities and the state. And of course it's taking the spotlight off of real issues like poverty, education, dying farm communities and the decline of agriculture - the state's #1 source of revenue.

We need bodies and lots of them. We need you to come here and make phone calls, put out door hangers, signs, literature drops.... Here in the NE part of the state where I live, are the largest cities in the state. This area is also one of the most conservative. Just driving through this area, I feel as if I am back in the south. Only this hatred is unspoken - focused towards women and children, cloaked in the deceit of the "pro-life" movement.


We need you Nov 3 - 7 most - but anytime between now and the 7th is helpful.

Call/e-mail Ben at SD for Health Families and let him know when you can come. 605-221-5642 or bj@sdhealthyfamilies.org

He will assign you to a location. If you can't afford a hotel, housing will be found for you. It would be good if you had your own car or can come with someone you can ride with. The main towns that will be focused on are Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings, Madison, Vermillion and Sioux Falls. I can accommodate several people at my house though it is a drive from the major urban centers. (I live 50 miles from Aberdeen and 60 miles from Watertown.)

If you can't make any of these days - then please do what you can: Call friends or pass along this e-mail to whomever could possibly come Call friends in SD who you know are either undecided or are against the ban and urge them to get involved - to write op ed pages - to call their local news papers about the lack of dissent letters that are being published, etc. Donate to SD for Healthy Families.

There is a virtual media shutdown here in my area - Aberdeen. Last Sunday, despite hundreds of letters against the ban, only 1 letter was published, while 6 pro ban were published.

Thank you for any help you can give.


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