Last week, South Dakota passed a law making abortion a crime. Following its lead, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina and Kentucky have all introduced bills in their state governments to ban abortion as well.

The purpose of this is undoubtedly to create a challenge to Roe v. Wade, which the pro-life campaign feels will be successful due to the conservative makeup of the all three branches of government.

While these laws make it seem like America is wholly “pro-life,” as of one month ago 66 percent of people ages 18 or older said they did not want Roe v. Wade overturned, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Additionally, when asked if they considered themselves to be either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” over the past 10 years there has typically been a 10 percent majority of those who responded as being “pro-choice.”

The NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan says that the challenge to Roe v. Wade will not work. “The public is not there,” she said. “The majority of Americans are pro-choice, and this has even caused a split in the anti-choice movement.” The split she is referring to comes from the language of the South Dakota law – it bans abortion in all cases, even rape and incest, which many “pro-life” Americans feel are legitimate excuses.

My own views on abortion are mixed. I think that there needs to be heavy consideration whenever a human life, or the possibility of one exists. From the opposite side however, I also feel that there are some places the government shouldn’t have jurisdiction over and one of those is a woman’s uterus. I also support the use of the morning after pill, which commonly places me in the “pro-choice” category.

I am unable to rationalize how “pro-lifers” can make exceptions in the case of rape or incest. If you feel that the fetus represents viable human life you cannot discredit that life simply because it is the product of rape. A fetus is no less human if it is a child of two loving parents or a serial rapist.

South Dakota’s new law may not seem important – after all there is a total of only six or seven people living there – but what is troubling is those polls. Why are our politicians working so hard to do something that clearly a majority of the country doesn’t want?

Try to separate the issues for a second. Think of another topic that the majority of American’s wouldn’t support. Now focus only on the fact that we don’t want it and yet across the country politicians are working toward it. When the Abramoff scandal hit, that was when politicians needed to draft meaningful legislation to stop what appeared to be rampant corruption of both sides of the aisle.

Many political theorists believe that abortion is an example of an outspoken minority in American politics. In other words, for “pro-lifers,” abortion is more often the defining issue. They are more likely to switch parties during an election because they want change. The “pro-choice” voter is less likely to switch parties to support the “pro-choice” candidate since for them it is only maintaining the status quo. If true, however, and if it is also true that there are more pro-choice than there are pro-life Americans, then the possible backlash of an abortion ban would be enormous. It could be the final push the Democrats need to make themselves a viable party again.

My hope is that after this latest development in the abortion saga is over, there will finally be a national consensus. There are so many issues that need to be addressed by lawmakers and not to say that abortion isn’t important, but in many ways it has already been decided.

Kirstein can be reached

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