Planned Parenthood Hints at Taking South Dakota Abortion Ban to Ballot

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Hints at Taking South Dakota Abortion Ban to Ballot Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 10, 2006

Sioux Falls, SD ( — Abortion advocates in South Dakota are not going to let stand a new law that bans virtually all abortions in the state. Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business there, will either file a lawsuit or take the law to the November ballot.

At a rally on Thursday the abortion business hinted the latter was likely.

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate staged rallies on Thursday in support or opposition to the ban, which prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother.

At the pro-abortion rally in Sioux Falls, the location of the only abortion center, Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, told the crowd the pro-abortion group would need their help if they take the measure to the polls.

"If the law is referred to the voters of South Dakota, we will need every single one of you for the next eight months to help us be victorious," Looby said.

"We are not going to allow a small group of radical politicians to make this decision for us," she added, according to an AP report.

A February poll by Rasmussen Reports found South Dakota residents are evenly split on a new state abortion ban.

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."

The abortion ban is slated to go into effect on July 1, but Planned Parenthood will likely either challenge the bill in court or start obtaining signatures for a battle a the ballot box.

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.

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

Governor Mike Rounds, a pro-life Republican who signed the bill and is up for re-election this year, said he would not campaign for the ban. He said he’s worried it will only be overturned by the Supreme Court, which is, at minimum 5-4 in favor of upholding Roe v. Wade.

Backers of the abortion ban are expecting a legal challenge at some point and raising funds for a legal defense fund.

At a pro-life rally, Barb Frick of Sioux Falls said she had an abortion in 1978 and regretted her decision six years later.

"We regret our abortions, that’s it. That’s our message. We all have dead babies," she told AP.

She and five other women held signs saying "Abortion: 1 Dead, 1 Wounded" and "I Regret My Abortion."