by Steven Ertelt
March 21, 2006
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — A legal defense fund set up to help defend South Dakota’s abortion ban in court has already received just over $7,000. There is no word yet on when and how the names of donors to the account will be disclosed to the public and a legal determination may be weeks away.
Thus far, supporters of the abortion ban, which prohibits all abortions except those in rare cases to save the mother’s life, have donated $7,157 as of Monday.
An unnamed donor had promised pro-life Rep. Roger Hunt, sponsor of the abortion ban, to donate $1 million to help defend the law in court.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Larry Long told the Argus Leader newspaper that his office won’t issue an opinion on if, when or how the names of donors should be disclosed until the question goes through a standard legal review process.
Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican who signed the abortion ban into law, submitted a request for Long’s opinion on how to handle the disclosure issue. Its similar to other requests for opinion Long’s office normally receives and it requires time to research and review.
After lawmakers approved the abortion ban, they signed off on another measure to set up the legal defense fund. The idea is to allow supporters of the ban to contribute to offset the costly legal bills expected to pile up during the lawsuit abortion advocates are expected to file.
Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state located in Sioux Falls, is expected to file a lawsuit against the ban but will probably take it to the November ballot first.
It’s decision is expected soon and if the abortion business heads to the ballot it would need to collect approximately 17,000 signatures by June 19 to qualify. Should South Dakota voters uphold the abortion ban, Planned Parenthood can still sue to overturn the law.
Jeff Masten, vice chairman of Focus South Dakota, a local pro-abortion group, said several organizations that support abortion are working out the details on the petition drive.
"You have a question of how to finance the effort and who’s going to be on it and what different groups it will bring to the table," Masten told the Argus Leader.