In South Dakota a bill has now been signed into law that seeks to outlaw abortion in the state. It is possible that the wranglings over this will lead to a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court ruling that is the basis for the legal provision of abortion across the United States.
Long-time readers of my blog will have seen my views on abortion expressed more than once so I won't recycle them here. But what is worrying is the way that the outcome of this entire debate rests entirely on the judgement of a mere nine Supreme Court Justices - and by the time the case reaches the Court a single further appointment may have changed the balance. What self-respecting polity allows decisions to be made in such a way, allows laws to be upheld or vetoed by the political whims at the random moment when vacancies arise on the Court and ultimately ignore popular opinion?
This bill is one of the most extreme pieces of "pro life" ("pro slavery" would be a more apt term) legislation yet tried, making abortion illegal even in cases of incest and rape. These fanatics care nothing for women who will find themselves enduring a perpetual nine month long rape, all due to their prejudices. If the Supreme Court throws out Roe vs. Wade then state after state will pass such extreme laws with the backing of the courts.
It is absurd that this debate will be decided in the Supreme Court. Contrast the position with this country, where the abortion question has been decided by Parliament and taken beyond the petty squabbles of partisan politics. Supreme Courts do nothing to aid democracy and freedom. Legislatures can overturn bad laws and federal legislatures can enact civil rights legislation, but absolute court rulings are far harder to disolve. Let us never follow the US route.