South Dakota Abortion Advocates Halfway to Getting Ban on November Ballot

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

South Dakota Abortion Advocates Halfway to Getting Ban on November Ballot Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 8, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — Abortion advocates in South Dakota are over halfway to their goal of getting enough signatures to put the state’s abortion ban on the November ballot. Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state, decided to try to defeat the ban at the polls first before taking it to court.

Pro-abortion activists have been fanning out across the state to obtain the 17,000 petition signatures they need to put the ban before voters and they have more than 10,000 signatures so far.

They must turn in enough signatures to the Secretary of State’s office by June 19 to qualify their initiative to repeal the abortion ban.

The law is slated to go into effect on July 1 and if Planned Parenthood and its supporters fail to get enough signatures, it will likely file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the law while a case proceeds.

Anne Thompson, a Sioux Falls abortion advocate who is helping Planned Parenthood, told AP that she thinks "The people of South Dakota have the right to express their opinion on this very controversial, very sensitive issue of which there is much division."

But pro-life advocates told the Associated Press that the state legislature reflects the will of the people of South Dakota and the people spoke when they elected lawmakers who predominantly support a pro-life position on abortion.

"When the legislators were debating this House Bill 1215, they were overwhelmed with calls and e-mails and letters from the constituents that the people of South Dakota actually already voted," said Kimberly Martinez, executive director of the Alpha Center, a pregnancy help center in Sioux Falls.

Yet, Martinez told AP that her group would "welcome" the vote if it was on the ballot because she thinks state residents will support life.

The abortion ban prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother and, in such cases, an abortion practitioner or doctor is required to do everything possible to save the baby’s life as well.

The abortion ban has prompted other states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky and others to tackle legislation prohibiting abortions.

An abortion ban passed through both houses in Mississippi but the two chambers couldn’t agree on a final version because of a debate on rape and incest exceptions. A Louisiana ban is advancing and still under consideration there.

Pro-life advocates are divided on the timing of abortion bans, with some saying to proceed and others saying they will be shot down in courts as the Supreme Court still has, at best, a 5-4 majority in favor of abortion and the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.