Somebody mentioned that there seems to be a number of political oriented posts appearing here lately despite my earlier vow to move this blog away from politics and toward things that actually add meaning to life. Perhaps it is rationalization but I don’t necessarily view the recent increase as inconsistent.
Why? Because as the father of three daughters between the ages of 14 and 20 the abortion law does impact my family. Likewise, I view the South Dakota Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) as a threat to processes that, while admittedly imperfect, are the most fair and effective way to protect those things important to life and our individual and collective freedom.
I’ll go even further. That is not the only connection between South Dakota’s adventures with abortion legislation and J.A.I.L. Granted, abortion is not the driving force behind J.A.I.L. but don’t be surprised that some in the anti-abortion movement are very interested in it.
One of J.A.I.L.’s promoters is Allen Unruh, a Sioux Falls chiropractor. Unruh was listed on the South Dakota J.A.I.L. group’s website as endorsing the measure, although his name was recently removed. Here’s what he told the local daily last year about why he supported J.A.I.L.: “South Dakota will be the first to challenge Roe vs. Wade, to throw judges in jail if they violate the constitution. There will be a grand jury if they legislate from the bench.”
No one should be surprised Unruh has such a view. His wife is one of the leaders of the anti-abortion movement and he is the registered agent for her anti-abortion pregnancy counseling service. He was one of the “medical professionals” on the South Dakota Task Force on Abortion. The objectivity he brought to the process is revealed in a recent op-ed piece he wrote for the Rapid City Journal. In addition to comparing Roe v. Wade to the Holocaust, his arguments for South Dakota’s abortion law include:
- “Women want to have the right to have unlimited sex with men they don’t like or don’t want to have babies with.”
- Opponents of the law “feel that if everyone in the world had enough latex, unlimited sex and free access to abortions, somehow we would all live in utopia.”
It appears Unruh sees J.A.I.L. as a worthy corollary to the abortion ban. In an opinion piece he wrote for an ultraconservative publication last November, Unruh said passage of the initiated measure would allow South Dakota to be “the first state in the nation to hold judges accountable only when they violate the constitution by over-ruling state referendums and/or legislation passed by elected officials.” In other words, if any judges rule that the abortion ban (“legislation passed by elected officials”) is unconstitutional, they could be hauled before J.A.I.L.’s grand jury so it could, in Unruh’s words, “throw [the] judges in jail.” Thus, J.A.I.L. is a vehicle to attack judges who might apply stare decisis and the constitutional right of privacy. This is just another aspect of the fact the intiative seeks to create a mechanism to threaten the judicial system with condoned vigilantism and to nullify any restraint on the extremist views of a vocal minority.
Because I see both the abortion ban and J.A.I.L. as directly affecting my life and family, I will continue to address them on this blog. Doing so is necessary if I truly want to continue blogging about and keep alive those “things that actually bring pleasure, meaning and nuance to life.”
There is nothing in art, in philosophy, or in politics to match the fervor of mutual cooperation among discordant bands of fanatics.
Alan Dean Foster, Diuturnity’s Dawn