Growling at South Dakota

You know, I've had it with Planned Parenthood. The state next door criminalized abortion today (well, almost—there's the formality of a signature from the governor) and PP has said nothing. This from the organization that sends me a solicitation of funds every time a congressman scratches his nose.

I'm really mad at the South Dakota bill. My mental processes have been odd—it was somehow necessary to analyze the religious and cultural tendencies of South Dakotans as a step toward digesting this bit of news. I came up emptyhanded. My contact with South Dakotans has revealed them to be about the same as other folk from the prairie/plains. Average Joe is semi-educated, vaguely christian, and has never been outside of his home state except on vacation to Colorado. I imagine that, just like where I live, for every hundred Joes and Joannes there are a few bible-thumpers, some doe-eyed homeschool moms, a whole bunch of teenagers thinking about sex, a few college professors, aging hippies, and grandmas who used to be nurses and know just what illegal abortion looks like.

About that last bit: it should've had a link, but I think informed consent is necessary in this case. A link to the horrific and sad photograph of Gerri Santoro's body, abandoned in a motel room in 1964; A link to my state senator's homepage (a pro-choice ex-nurse grandma). Every time I see a graphic pro-life billboard (and there are lots around here) I think of Gerri Santoro and think Never Again.

I'm angry to the point of incoherence. I was watching this afternoon for PZ to weigh in from his homebase fifty miles from South Dakota, and he did, declaring the "Eastern Repressive State of South Dakota." I'm incredibly grateful to Twisty for fighting the good fight, every day. Also, Digby had good stuff this week about innocence and punishment.

Oh, and I was ranting about Planned Parenthood. I think they're losing ground. They are in denial about the changes taking place in the way that people relate to fetuses in the US. An ultrasound at 18-20 weeks has become standard prenatal care; parents see fingers and toes and faces, and the distinction between potential baby and actual baby fades. Take-home images are shared with friends and family, who coo appreciatively.

The sonogram snapshots from my sister-in-law's pregnancy last year prompted my dad (who is a little left of center) to tell me his support for choice was getting shaken to the roots by the images he sees on Nova and the Discovery Channell shows about developmental biology. I'm sure he's not alone. The right is preying on this cultural change and the left is ignoring it, which may prove to be perilous for choice.

eventually i'll get around to my rant about planned parenthood et al ignoring the spiritual and philosophical issues surrounding abortion, but for now i can only recommend two books: i am roe and won by love by norma mccorvy, the actual jane roe. the first is her autobiography (a harrowing tale which ends in her becoming a prochoice activist who is roundly ignored and written off by the rest of prochoice). the second is her conversion story (the people at the prolife office next door were nice to her).

how complicated is this? prolife has cornered the compassion market -- not to mention the word "life" -- and we can't get our thumbs out of our asses. grr!
I look forward to reading your rant, Em. And I'll remember the Roe books.

"Cornered the compassion market" is exactly right. I drive past a billboard that speaks to the grieving that many people do after an abortion and I wish that the prochoice side would hurry up and start learning how to address that very real human need.
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