South Dakota Residents Evenly Split on Abortion Ban New Poll Shows

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Residents Evenly Split on Abortion Ban New Poll Shows Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 8, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — South Dakota residents are evenly split on a new state abortion ban, according to a new survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports. The poll could be important should Planned Parenthood decide to take the ban to the people on the November ballot before challenging it in court.

According to the new poll, 45% support the ban the governor just signed, and another 45% oppose it.

The Rasmussen Reports poll found state residents are very interested in the ban as 92 percent of likely voters are following the news about the bill, including 61% who are following it "very closely."

Nationally, just 50% of Americans have followed news stories about the legislation passed in South Dakota. Just 21% are following the issue very closely.

The South Dakota poll also found that most state voters (55%) know someone who has had an abortion. Sixty percent (60%) say abortion is morally wrong most of the time.

Forty-four percent (44%) say it is too easy for a woman to get an abortion in South Dakota. Twenty-five percent (25%) say that it’s too hard while 19% say that the balance is "about right."

Rasmussen conducted the poll with a survey of 500 likely voters on February 28th. That was after the South Dakota legislature approved the abortion ban but before Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican, signed the bill.

The Fox News Channel conducted a recent poll on the South Dakota abrotion ban and found that Americans oppose the abortion ban, which contains only an exception to save the life of the mother, on a 59-35 percent margin.

That’s likely because the ban does not contain exceptions for rape and incest, which more than 70 percent of Americans support.

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 yesterday.

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

Rounds, who is campaigning for re-election, has said he would not actively campaign in favor of the abortion ban on the November ballot because he is worried it will be struck down by the Supreme Court, which still has a 5-4 majority in favor of Roe v. Wade.

Related web sites:
Rasmussen Reports –