Wednesday, March 8, 2006

'Values' juggernaut takes aim at another lawful right

South Dakota has hurriedly dished out a tough new anti-abortion law whose survival in an expected bruising legal battle relies on the U.S. Supreme Court's presumed new conservative tilt.

The South Dakota law bans abortions even in cases of unwanted pregnancies caused by rape or incest, and would send physicians to prison for five years for performing an abortion. The only exception is saving the mother's life. (As is customary in anti-abortion laws, Dakota lawmakers didn't explain who would care for unwanted children born of rape or incest.)

If, indeed, the new high court makeup overturns 1973's oft-challenged Roe v. Wade ruling, then Americans should steel themselves for a whole new America.

The new list of government powers claimed by the Bush administration should frighten any citizen with even a limited knowledge of history and the Bill of Rights. For example, the government now has:

  • The unimpeded right to eavesdrop on telephone and Internet conversations;
  • Seizure and indefinite imprisonment without legal counsel of anyone dubbed "terror suspect,"
  • Torture.

If that's not enough to cause concern for a breach of public trust, consider more of this administration's acts:

  • Using fraudulent grounds as arguments for a declaration of war
  • Approving the Patriot Act to enhance snooping
  • Dissipating a plump treasury and astronomically increasing the national debt
  • Enriching a small percentage of wealthy taxpayers with favorable tax cuts,
  • Abandoning care of the environment and public lands,
  • Canceling enlistment contracts with federalized National Guards troops,
  • Encouraging outsourcing of jobs overseas,
  • Failing to help New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina,
  • Proposing to charge news reporters with espionage for publishing information leaked about the government.

Need we continue?

If this president's acts continue to go unchallenged by Congress or by the courts, Americans can count on waking up soon to a country they won't easily recognize, one in which the majority of sensible citizens will not be comfortable, nor safe from government abuse.

South Dakota's rush to stir up a challenge to Roe v. Wade looks to be just the latest chapter in an unfolding plan by advocates of a more authoritarian state in which their "values" can be imposed.

It's a plan that could shake the foundation of the nation.

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