South Dakota Gov Won’t Campaign for Abortion Ban If Put on State Ballot

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Gov Won’t Campaign for Abortion Ban If Put on State Ballot Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 7, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state of South Dakota, is considering taking a new state abortion ban to the November ballot for state residents to consider. If it does, Gov. Mike Rounds, who signed the ban Monday, said he won’t actively campaign for it.

Rounds signed the bill that would ban virtually all abortions, including those in cases of rape or incest. The goal of the ban is to challenge the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which allowed abortions throughout pregnancy essentially for any reason.

Rounds told reporters in a Tuesday news conference that he would not campaign for the ban along with seeking re-election this November.

"I would not actually campaign either way on this particular issue at this stage of the game," the Republican governor said, according to an AP report. "Each individual will decide for themselves."

Rounds said he thought it was better to attack Roe in a piecemeal effort because the high court still has a 5-4 majority in favor of Roe. He indicated he did not favor a "frontal assault" on the landmark abortion case.

The abortion ban is slated to go into effect on July 1, but Planned Parenthood will likely either challenge the bill in court with a lawsuit or take it to the state ballot.

Planned Parenthood is debating its legal strategy and wondering if enough South Dakota residents would vote against the ban in order to avoid heading to court. Should the abortion business take the ban to the November ballot it would need 16,728 signatures to force a public vote.

The abortion group could start collecting signatures two weeks after the end of the legislative session and would have 90 days to collect enough.

"Within about two weeks, we’ll have made those decisions,” Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, told the Argus Leader newspaper.

Should the abortion business lose the November ballot vote, it could still sue to overturn the abortion ban in court.

According to AP, Rounds said he signed the abortion ban because he acknowledges that some people believe there’s a chance for another new justice on the court by the time the lawsuit reaches the Supreme Court.

"For those individuals who believe this is the right approach to taking apart Roe v. Wade, this is the opportunity to find out at least for the next few years whether or not this Supreme Court will consider this as the right vehicle to address abortion within the United States," the governor said.

But he worried if the case lost, another challenge may not be possible for another 10 years or more.

Rounds’ concerns echoes worries some pro-life groups have expressed about the South Dakota abortion ban and similar proposals in other states. They worry the court will build on its Roe precedent by declaring the South Dakota abortion ban unconstitutional and prefer to work to get another pro-life justice on the high court.