Gov. Michael Rounds of South Dakota signed into law the nation's most sweeping state abortion ban on Monday, an intentional provocation meant to set up a direct legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.
The law makes it a felony to perform any abortion except in a case of a pregnant woman's life being in jeopardy. Though the law is not scheduled to go into effect until July, officials working at the state's only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, where about 800 abortions take place each year, said they spent much of the day consoling women.
"This is a very real issue for a lot of people," said Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood. "That's the part I think the legislators don't quite understand."
The above is from Monica Davey's "South Dakota Bans Abortion, Setting Up a Battle" in this morning's New York Times. Erika was the first to note it but others have e-mailed on it as well. Susan was reminded of Joni Mitchell's "Three Great Stimulants" (off the album Dog Eat Dog):
While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars
They'd like to slam free choice behind us
Which also sets up Marci's highlight, Linda Greenhouse's "U.S. Wins Ruling Over Recruiting at Universities:"
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that cuts federal financing for universities if they do not give military recruiters the same access to students that other potential employers receive. The court ruled that the law does not violate the free-speech rights of universities that object to the military's exclusion of gay men and lesbians who are open about their sexual orientation.
[. . .]
Paula C. Johnson, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit who is a law professor at Syracuse University and a visiting professor this semester at the City University of New York's law school, said that it was too early to talk about what campuses might do, but that she expected "things will begin to happen" as opponents of the military's policy had time to better organize.
"This could be a very important galvanizing measure," she said.
Mr. Monk, of the law school association, said in the interview that law schools retained the obligation to "create a welcoming environment for all their students." He added, "Ultimately, our hope is that gay and lesbian students who want to serve their country by becoming military attorneys will be able to do so."
File the verdict under disgusting and hope Johnson's right about it being "galvanizing."
Lloyd notes Ruth Conniff's "Wanted: A Democratic Plan" (Ruth Conniff's Online Column, The Progressive):
A list of Democratic initiatives aimed to clean up corruption in Congress, restore a sane budget (this is where the Common Sense Budget Act comes in), and plug the holes in Homeland Security could easily serve the dual purpose of addressing what's wrong with the Republican regime and reminding Americans what their real priorities are. On the social services front, more than a decade after the first Contract with America, the welfare reform horse has been beaten to death. In some ways, rhetorically at least, that's good for Democrats. It's safe to talk about doing something constructive for the growing numbers of poor people in our country--particularly in the wake of Katrina--without running into welfare-cutting doubletalk.
The massive run-up in the deficit and the billions spent on war call for a shift in priorities. The Democrats need only to pull together and outline their own ten-point plan for restoring safety and sanity to our federal government.
Rod passes on the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:
Democracy Now! will be broadcasting live from London, England. We will be speaking with human rights attorney Philippe Sands about his book "Lawless World," as well as a British soldier who refused to serve in Iraq.
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