Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bloggers on the South Dakota Abortion Bill

One of the big disadvantages of being an "insider" is that one stops knowing what would strike an "outsider" in a news item. By an "insider" I mean someone who is following a field or learning about a science. After a while certain aspects of it look obvious. For example, anyone following U.S. politics expects a lot lying and corruption right now, but someone who has not been paying much attention might be struck by the latest snippet in the news and might throw a fit or two. The "insider" is missing the fits but also missing realizing that there will be fits.

All this long prelude is to explain why I didn't write passionate posts about the South Dakota decision to privilege embryos over women in health issues. I did write a post about the SD Abortion Task Force earlier on and how the evidence it debated was totally biased and how it excluded pro-choice participants because they wouldn't have "an open mind" about this evidence, and I also wrote about the general policy of getting very restrictive laws passed in several states so that there would be good test cases for the new Supreme Court with its new more wingnutty judges.

But the actual meaning of these laws to women who do not follow politics much got somehow obscured for me, and the political game aspect took over. Not that it wasn't all extremely insulting and angering: to treat women in distress as so many pawns in a power struggle does that to you, but the feelings get stale after a while. And I knew that South Dakota's law wouldn't actually do anything because Roe would override it.

So I missed the opportunity to really address the issues. Luckily, other bloggers did not. They are able to both be "insiders" and to see the angle of the "outsiders". One day I will learn this, too, but until then it's good that others are doing it so well:

Firedoglake tells us how to get active on the issue, and so does BitchPhD, though in perhaps some more cynical ways, and Digby and Lawyers, Guns and Money give more background and context. Culture Kitchen offers one upsetting image, and Pandagon addresses the pros and cons of boycotting South Dakota.

The disadvantage the pro-choice faction is laboring under is that very few people now remember the pre-Roe era personally. Very few people have personal experiences of someone bleeding to death in a hotel room, of women being kicked out of their homes for becoming pregnant, of the double-standards that let a pregnant woman be lectured at in a church while the man who got her pregnant sits smugly in the choir. All stories that I have been told by older relatives. Young women today have not heard such stories, on the whole, and they have Roe v. Wade to thank for it. But it is hard to be grateful for something you take for granted, hard to see how the world would change if Roe was no longer there to be taken for granted. Hard, but we still have to find a way to tell these stories, to make it clear what is at stake at least for the poorest women if states like South Dakota become the rule.