Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Planned Parenthood: Tugging at my Heartstrings

SFGate has a story today on how South Dakota (and Mississippi and North Dakota) has only one abortion clinic in the state. As it is an SFGate article, the author's pro-choice bias is manifestly transparent, attempting to portray the hardships faced by women who, for example, have to travel over 700 miles just to get an abortion.

"'Women in the western side of the state don't think about abortion until they need to,' said Kate Looby, Planned Parenthood's state director, 'and then they're completely shocked that there's no way to receive that care unless they go to Sioux Falls.'"

Which is nothing, she failed to add, in comparison to how completely shocked the fetus is to have scissors stabbed into its brain. For all the author's attempts to arouse my sympathies, I finished reading the article with an immense feeling of satisfaction. So, why is it so hard to get an abortion in South Dakota?

"The last doctor in South Dakota to perform abortions stopped about eight years ago..."

Wow, that's a state that's doing something right. They fly in abortion doctors from Minnesota once a week. But given that the state can't outright ban abortions, what is the cause of the extreme difficulty there?

"...the consensus in the medical community is that offering the procedure is not worth the stigma of being branded a baby killer."

Bingo. I wrote a post a while back arguing against the Maoist dictum that all power comes from the barrel of a gun. South Dakota presents an excellent illustration of that premise. The government cannot constitutionally ban its doctors from performing abortions, and yet we see that they refuse to perform them anyway. This flies in the face of Mao's statement because it is not the threat of force -- i.e. jail or monetary penalties -- that has produced the desired result, but social pressure, directly from the people.

Indeed, there would be no pro-life/pro-choice debate in this country if no doctor would perform an abortion. The same would be true if no woman sought an abortion, choosing instead to accept the consequences of her choices. And, it seems to me, social pressure is far more effective than government regulation or criminalization, both because there are no enforcement costs for government, and because it relies on individual choice to avoid social stigma.

"Looby, whose father is an obstetrician-gynecologist, said she has talked to many doctors in South Dakota who say they have no personal objection to performing abortions but cannot risk their careers and community standing by offering the procedure."

Obviously, not all power comes from the barrel of a gun.