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Abortion Ruling Portends Sanctuary Cities for Women

Thanks to the Alito court, we may need sanctuary cities for women:

The city of Austin is attempting to shield its residents from prosecution under a Texas law that would criminalize almost all abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned — the first push by a major city in a red state to try to circumvent state abortion policy.

Councilmember Chito Vela is proposing a resolution that would direct the city’s police department to make criminal enforcement, arrest and investigation of abortions its lowest priority and restrict city funds and city staff from being used to investigate, catalogue or report suspected abortions.

“This is not an academic conversation. This is a very real conversation where people’s lives could be destroyed by these criminal prosecutions,” said Vela, who shared the details of the resolution first with POLITICO. “In Texas, you’re an adult at 17. We are looking at the prospect of a 17-year-old girl who has an unplanned pregnancy and is seeking an abortion [being] subjected to first-degree felony charges — up to 99 years in jail — and that’s just absolutely unacceptable” [Megan Messerly, “Austin Pushing to Effectively Decriminalize Abortion Ahead of Ruling on Roe,” Politico, 2022.05.30].

It seems unlikely that the Sioux Falls City Council would choose to buck our anti-abortion Governor and Legislature to protect the right of women to determine their own reproductive activities within the boundaries of the Queen City of the East, but the South Dakota Legislature may not want to take any chances on local control facilitating women’s control. But perhaps when Representative Jon Hansen gets the abortion Special Session for which he is salivating, he’ll throw in the hopper a bill to restrict local governments’ ability to regulate health care. Hansen hates letting women make choices that defy his will; he should make sure local governments can’t make choices, either.


  1. WillyNilly 2022-05-31 10:17

    I saw Dusty on Kelo the other day. He spoke of Alito’s draft as if it was settled law. I hope there have been alterations since it was exposed.

  2. O 2022-05-31 10:32

    WillyNilly, I hope the Alito draft stays as close to the crazy of the first draft as possible. The actual decision will not change or weaken; the only thing revision does at this point is to soften the “legal” reasoning used to justify that reversal in rights. I want the full weight and scope of witch-hunting activism on display for all to see the motives that drives this decision. I also hope we see companion pieces from the other justices who supported this reversal; otherwise how will we know th justification for overturning “settled law?”

  3. larry kurtz 2022-05-31 10:40

    Omaha is a logical choice to be such a sanctuary city but in my wretched home state any reproductive rights haven not operated by a tribal community seems ill-conceived, as it were.

  4. bearcreekbat 2022-05-31 12:07

    It sure looks like Hansen (who acknowledges an unauthorized abortion will soon constitute 1st degree murder, which is a capital crime in SD) and SD’s Republican friends and families are chompin’ at the bit to get SD started killing women, doctors, nurses, PAs, and anyone else that might be convicted of helping a woman terminate a pregnancy, (whether unwanted or wanted but gone very wrong).

    The good news is there is a defense to the murder charge if defense counsel can muster up enough convincing medical evidence to prove the abortion was needed to save the woman’s life. This question often comes down to a question of who a jury or a judge believes, the State’s expert or the defense expert. Unfortunately, the defense is complicated by the liklihood that the woman’s main expert would be her own doctor who has also been charged with capital murder, undermining his or her credibility..

    But if the judge or jury rejects the defense evidence for any reason, SD statutes now empower such judges and juries to direct State officials to kill the woman and everyone that tried to help keep her safe. I cannot see how Sioux Falls or any other city in SD could provide a sanctuary to protect people from prosecutors seeking to build creds by winning a few capital cases (often considered the pinnacle of success for upcoming prosecutors that hope to become judges).

  5. P. Aitch 2022-05-31 14:20

    Anti-choice won’t stop at “states’ rights”. If anti-choice isn’t codified nationally any state restrictions are literally toothless. BEWARE THE ZEALOT

  6. O 2022-05-31 16:19

    I fear that P. has the GOP long game well framed. There can be no sanctuary cities if this becomes a “state’s decision” which seems to be a premise of the overturn — that the people should decide. We all know how undemocratic and ill-represented this nation has become through GOP gerrymandering, voeter suppression, and disproportionate representation. “Let the people decide” is a ruse for let the twisted system the GOP has wrought decide.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-05-31 17:46

    Come on, the abortion rights will prevail. Are they going to stop women from going to Minnesota?

  8. O 2022-05-31 21:12

    Mark, yes, GOP states will criminalize out-of-state travel for abortions as well as the actual procedures in-state. They will use Texas’ tattle-tale reporting to investigate and enforce. Insurance coverage religious objections will also be tested.

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-05-31 21:28

    I would really love to see how they would do that O. If any woman from South Dakota travels to Minnesota how will they know? Most Republicans are dumb as a box of rocks. Of course it will be easier to just take some pills. Making something illegal doesn’t mean it disappears and it won’t.

  10. Algebra 2022-06-01 06:56

    Women who get pregnant by accident are all suffering from Too-Stupid-To-Live Syndrome.

    I once asked a woman how she became a single mother and she laughed and said “I got out of jail that day and I was drunk and horny.”

    Trying to keep this segment of the population out of jail is a waste of time. They are going to jail anyway. Stop worrying about them.

  11. larry kurtz 2022-06-01 07:05

    12. The extreme white wing of the Republican Party is driving the abolition of women’s rights because they’re wedded to the Replacement Hypothesis.

  12. O 2022-06-01 08:55

    Algebra, your comment is indicative of one of the largest problems I see in the abortion discussion: ALL responsibility for the pregnancy (and therefore it is assumes all the decisions made) fall on the woman. I do not like that none of this addresses the man’s roles and responsibilities in these unwanted pregnancy.

  13. Eve Fisher 2022-06-01 09:23

    Missouri’s top health official said Tuesday the state monitored (i.e., hacked) detailed personal information about Planned Parenthood patients, in some cases reviewing women’s menstrual cycles, with the aim of identifying those who had failed abortions. (NOTE: State health officials are not subject to medical privacy laws, at least in Missouri.)
    There is already talk among many states about monitoring (i.e., hacking) not just Planned Parenthood data, but all medical records and personal health monitors of women to identify those who had abortions or failed abortions. And, considering that the Mayo Clinic reports 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and both abortion and miscarriage require a D&C, they intend to monitor D&Cs in hospitals and clinics.
    In other words, women have no right to medical privacy.

    And states like MO and OK are already talking about ways to prevent pregnant women from traveling out of state in case they might be thinking about getting an abortion. Meanwhile, Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw said just the other day that he opposes all Red Flag Laws because “What you’re essentially trying to do with a red flag law is enforce the law before the law has been broken, and that’s a really difficult thing to do.” But that’s the whole point of the all these anti-abortion laws, isn’t it? To enforce a law before it’s been broken, at the expense of a woman’s civil rights.

    It’s pretty apparent that the GOP believes that all gunowners are future heroes, but all pregnant women are potential criminals. And they act accordingly.

    P.S. “Christian” legislators proposing these laws realize that, if there had been anti-interstate travel bans for pregnant women in Bible times, the Virgin Mary would have been forbidden to visit Elizabeth. She would have been locked up for intent. And the only reason she would have been allowed to go to Bethlehem would be because Joseph, her husband, took her. Or maybe not. That might be outlawed, too.

  14. Mark Anderson 2022-06-01 10:15

    Eve, as soon as those states do that there will be an exodus from the Republican party post-haste. The really red states will cause the end of the party.

  15. Ryan 2022-06-01 11:18

    silver lining for south dakotans when it comes to possibly committing murder via abortion once scotus sacks up and releases their idiotic opinion: prosecutors in sd are not good at their jobs. case in point, prosecutor mark vargo in rapid forgot about the deadline for seeking the death penalty for a multiple murderer. oops.

  16. Bob Newland 2022-06-01 11:44

    Algebra, yer kinda a dumbf**k, aincha?

  17. O 2022-06-01 12:06

    Mark, I think you and I see vastly different Republican parties. This reversal of abortion rights is a HUGE WIN for the GOP rank-and-file. Pro-life has been a centerpiece of their legislative agenda since Roe. The fervor that they attack abortion is a badge of honor — that is only magnified in their elected officials, the ones making the new reality in policy. SD GOP — especially its elected officials — are not more liberal than Texas’ and travel for abortion was part of their crack down. Red states are pushing to be more restrictive than the last guy — not less.

  18. Jake 2022-06-01 12:53

    Ahhh, the South Dakota Taliban exists, don’t it? No, I shouldn’t be calling the GOP “Taliban”, but extremism does rear its head much too easily in a state where one party holds absolute power far too long. The sense of “Authoritism’ evident in today’s Republican ‘squeaky wheels’ isn’t hard to pick up on. Our state motto “Under God the People Rule” is a good one, but it subtly means “as long as Republicans are in control”..

  19. P. Aitch 2022-06-01 14:11

    Algebra has made that same statement under her real name many times. I won’t bother to reveal the name because it doesn’t matter.

  20. Mark Anderson 2022-06-01 14:58

    Well O, Republicans won’t be able to win in any swing state with the policies they are pushing. Even in Florida it would turn things around. DeSantis is of course DeSantosing, but he barely won the Governorship last time. You step on people’s back long enough and they do get peeved.

  21. bearcreekbat 2022-06-01 15:11

    Ryan, that may be a good point. Here is another technical possibility for saving pregnant women from being killed by the State of SD.

    The trigger statute prohibiting all abortions does one express exception, namely when an abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. Thus, an abortion is “authorized” in such circumstances, and only an “unauthorized killing” falls within the definition of murder. So if an “unauthorized” abortion puts a pregnant woman’s life in real danger from the SD death penalty, then all abortions must be deemed “authorized” in order to save the life of the pregnant woman by stopping an execution by the State.

  22. mike from iowa 2022-06-01 16:24

    Don’t you think red state magats will redefine authorized so only magat pols can give authorizations and not doctors? Like iowa supreme court did with the word valid?

  23. mike from iowa 2022-06-01 16:26

    Valid as in valid medical marijuana prescriptions.

  24. All Mammal 2022-06-01 17:16

    Algebra- Do you think any of us would be here if our fathers intended to impregnate our mothers? Hell no. I would bet the farm most of our mothers accidentally got pregnant. Thats sort of how it works. People wouldn’t have sex but once every six years if they only bumped uglies to procreate. The lightning has something to do with it too. Imagine if pregnancy was only possible when the woman reached orgasm, instead of the man….there would be like one person. Ha!

  25. Ryan 2022-06-02 14:02

    all mammal, it sounds like your lackluster sex has caused some brain fog haha. my two kids were planned, and my wife is wonderfully multi-orgasmic. our ugly-bumping to pregnancy ratio is in the neighborhood of 1000:1.

    my friends all planned their kids, too, with the one exception of an IUD that failed.

    to be clear – i support easily accessible abortion for all abortion-seekers. i’m just suggesting that plenty of people make the momentous decision to have children on purpose.

  26. All Mammal 2022-06-02 14:59

    Ryan- it shows. Relax between plan making. I was just joshing and remember: it makes more sense if you don’t think about it so hard.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-02 15:38

    (Hey! Let’s leave each other’s orgasms out of the conversation. TMI!)

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