In a move meant to set a new precedent on abortions in this country, Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota signed a bill into state law Monday banning all abortions short of those necessary to save a woman's life. According to the bill's language, no exceptions are made in cases of rape or incest.
For the time being, nothing will change in South Dakota, as the case is expected to be tied up in courts for several years. Unfortunately, the issue will no doubt distract from other matters of importance, such as the war in Iraq and government scandals enveloping Washington.
Regardless of individuals' feelings on abortion, what this case will provide is a litmus test over the direction of the Roberts Supreme Court. It is a subject that was often deflected during the confirmation hearings of judges Roberts and Alito. Whether or not their confirmations were a mistake for pro-choice congressmen and congresswomen will become abundantly clear.
For anti-abortionists, the prospects are no doubt exciting. The Republican Party, however, may want to be careful before it begins full-scale warfare on women's rights. Many women voted for Bush under the pretext that abortion was safe, a precedent set decades ago that the party had no intentions of reversing. If the opposite proves true, and we hope it doesn't, the political and social ramifications could prove enormous for our nation.