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Over the last two days, Gordon Parks, Dana Reeve, and Kirby Puckett have all died. What the hell is going on? And the capper is that South Dakota, for most purposes, outlawed abortion. It’s like somebody swept his dark hand across our land and announced “those who fought for social justice, or were good at baseball, shall live no more. But here here to the pro-lifers!”

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Granted, Gordon Parks was 93. But Dana Reeve dying of lung cancer at age 44, when she was never a smoker? Kirby dying after stroke at age 45? And, finally, Gov. Michael Rounds of South Dakota signing the anti-abortion law into effect? It’s too much.

"This is a very real issue for a lot of people," said Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood. "That's the part I think the legislators don't quite understand."

Yes, it is a real issue, I have a sneaking suspicion that those legislators know it but don’t care. Once again, they’re mostly men, legislating a women’s issue, thinking about the upcoming elections and future political ramifications, not the law’s effect on thousands of young, mostly poor, women.

I have no idea what Dana Reeve politics were like, but a hard issue fell into her lap (come on, no jokes now) with her husband’s injury and she went with it. And she and Christopher challenged Georgie for his stance on stem-cell research, hoping it could one day lead to cures for victims of spinal cord injuries.

Think of those legislators compared to this woman, or to Gordon Parks, photographer, director of shaft, writer about race. They stood for bravery; the South Dakotans are (they’re goes the jokes again) spineless vessels.

And Kirby? God bless ‘im.

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