South Dakota has so many unresolved lawsuits from injuncted anti-choice abortion restrictions that the Governor was forced to add an additional $100,000 in legal fees to the 2012 budget. Nebraska introduced the first in the country “fetal pain” ban, a piece of legislation that outlaws abortion at 20 weeks, despite the non-viability of the fetus and against the protections of a right to chose established in Roe v. Wade, based on a belief that fetuses “have the potential” to feel pain that almost all doctors and gynecologists say is faulty science.
The two states share more than just a border. They also share anti-choice dominated legislatures that are more interested in finding every possible way to restrict abortion imaginable, to the detriment of women, bills that could grow the economy, and the state budgets that get spent defending unconstitutional laws.
Despite already having two abortion regulation laws being defended in the courts, and pleas from legislators to leave the issue alone this session, anti-choice lawmakers are discussing plans to introduce their own “fetal pain” abortion ban in 2012. And despite the fact that some politicians were adamantly against adding any new anti-abortion laws, they are beginning already to rally around this cause. According to the Rapid City Journal, “Rep. Don Kopp, R-Rapid City, said earlier this month that he believes it might be time for the state to take a break and let its current abortion laws work their way through the courts. But when told about the 20-week ban, Kopp said that sounds important enough that he could support it. ‘I think that if you’re saving a life, that’s probably more important than lawsuits or money,’ he said.”
Nebraska, having been the predecessor for the 20 week ban, is now looking to pass some of the legislation other states have pioneered, despite how unsuccessful those laws have been at making it pass the state houses or the voters. Anti-choice Republican Mark Christensen says he is looking at introducing either a Personhood bill, which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs, or a heartbeat ban, which would essentially ban all abortion after a heartbeat can be detected — as early as 6 weeks in most cases.
Personhood bills have been cast down by voters in every state that they have been introduced, most recently in Mississippi. And the “heartbeat” ban is so controversial that the state of Ohio, where it was proposed, still hasn’t been able to get the bill through the state senate, despite a huge anti-abortion majority. But none of this daunts Christensen. “I’m more than willing to introduce them…I’m willing to take on a fight.”
More unconstitutional bills that will likely end up blocked and in expensive court challenges? The 2012 legislative year already sounds an awful lot like 2011.
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