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Shaw: A wake-up call to vote

Shaw writes, "Women in North Dakota are probably feeling safe because the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only abortion clinic in the state, will move to neighboring Moorhead. That’s because abortion will remain legal in next door Minnesota. Sorry to say, things can change."

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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The decision was expected, but it is still stunning. Women’s reproductive rights have been thrown into the trash can of American history. Four Supreme Court justices who made this decision lied about their Roe v. Wade positions during their confirmation hearings.

So now, we have havoc. In North Dakota, where abortion will now be illegal, we could have criminal investigations against traumatized women who just suffered a miscarriage. How are they supposed to prove it was a miscarriage, and not an abortion?

You can also expect North Dakota lawmakers to shamefully remove the rape and incest exceptions to the abortion ban. If a 13-year-old girl has been beaten, forced to have sex and becomes pregnant, that will be tough luck. Several other draconian states have dropped their rape and incest exceptions, and North Dakota wouldn’t want to be left behind.

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Poor women with unwanted pregnancies in southern states won’t be able to go elsewhere for abortions because of the costs, time and distance. Women in North Dakota are probably feeling safe because the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only abortion clinic in the state, will move to neighboring Moorhead. That’s because abortion will remain legal in next door Minnesota. Sorry to say, things can change.

Ruthless North Dakota legislators will likely try to pass a bill that bans state residents from receiving abortions in other states. Also, abortion is legal in Minnesota because of a 1995 decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court. A different Minnesota Supreme Court could overturn that decision.

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In addition, Minnesota is one of those states that goes back and forth from Republican control to Democratic control. There will be a day again when Minnesota has a Republican governor and Republicans have majorities in the state House and state Senate. That could come as early as this November’s election. When that happens, you can expect new anti-abortion laws in Minnesota.

Moreover, it’s quite possible there will be a horrifying national abortion ban. Mike Pence is already calling for it. All it would take is for Republicans to control both houses of Congress once again and for a Republican president to be elected. That could happen as soon as 2024. Republicans, who have used the filibuster to block voting rights, would jump at the chance to drop the filibuster to block reproductive rights.

Another problem is that as former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank said, many pro-life people believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” So, with these forced births, Republicans need to support paid leave for families with new children, help with the childcare crisis and keep AR-15 rifles away from our school children. Sadly, most pro-life House Republicans recently voted against a bill to help ease the baby formula shortage.

Meantime, it’s frightening that the Morality Police led by Sheriff Clarence Thomas are now taking aim at contraception and same-sex marriage. Thomas, who doesn’t care about his wife’s efforts to overthrow the U.S. government, does care about who you decide to marry.

If all this isn’t a wake-up call to vote, then I don’t know what is.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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