Nothing sets off the emotional and political Richter scale higher and faster than the subject of abortion. So the front page headline in the local daily (the Forum of Fargo, ND) caught people's eyes, including mine.
Since, as it turns out, the article was riddled with errors, including the actual bill number, which was HB 1572, I decided to directly contact legislators about the bill, not just rely on the public reporting.
And my take is, this bill was pushed through mostly under the radar and with an orchestrated contact campaign, based on misrepresentations and oh wait, what's that word? Lies. Yeah, that's it. Lies. The bill's sponsor, Minot representative Dan Ruby, sold the bill o'goods to fellow legislators as benign, and said, no prob, even Dorgan's supporting like legislation in DeeCee....
Benign? Yeah. Right.
As the Forum puts it today: "House Bill 1572 defines fertilized egg as a human being."
So consider the consequences: stem cell research—criminal act. birth control—criminal act. in vitro fertilization—criminal act (I mean, really. You think somebody's not gonna scream "child abuse" about freezing embryos? It's the next step.).
Bearing false witness about benign. Ironic, considering the anti-abortion agenda in this state is being pushed by religious conservatives like the Bishop of the Fargo Diocese, Samuel Aquila. He came to town from the Denver Diocese and quickly set into motion the tactics and agenda of that ultra-conservative Diocese.
For 40 days before the election last fall, he had his students and other parishioners protesting in front of the local women's health clinic, an abortion provider. Lawn signs for his fasting campaign were more frequent than candidate campaign signs.
Not that Aquila is the only radical leading this crusade in North Dakota. Other ultra-conservative religious groups, known for their authoritarian male structure, aggressively push the pro-"life" mantra here as well.
Funny how you never see these guys down in front of the federal buildings or the recruiting station protesting sending our men and women into harm's way for Chee-knee Bush's oil war...or at the peace rallies...but I digress....
Someone of a cynical bent might think that the anti-abortion movement is actually a sham issue, just meant to gin up the emotions of the choir and keep the coffers filled with gold'n'guilt.
Someone of a more cynical bent might think that the pro-"life" agenda is situational...go with the warm-fuzzy heartstrings emotional baby stuff, and to heck with the real live humans who are struggling against poverty and homelessness and disease and hunger and oppression.
For now, I'll just stay with the pragmatic. Rep. Ruby acknowledges he's coordinating with the national pro-lifers. A veteran lege watcher tells me this legislation comes up every session, and the N.D Senate will defeat it. That may be. Meanwhile, I'm standing up and speaking out. If you live in ND, I hope you will, too. And if you don't, it might not be a bad idea to look into just what your own state lege is up to these days.
Never let it be said that the national pro-life radicals were going to go away quietly once their fearless leader went back to the brush ranch. Not when there's emotions to be preyed on...and fundraising to do....
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette
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