by Steven Ertelt
May 30, 2006
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in South Dakota turned in what appears to be enough signatures to get their initiative on the November ballot to overturn a statewide abortion ban lawmakers recently approved. Legislators who supported the ban say the public has a right to vote on it and expected it to be approved.
Nearly 17,000 were needed to qualify and the pro-abortion coalition turned in 38,000 signatures — though some of those may be pro-life people wanting to vote on the ban.
Planned Parenthood, which runs the state’s only abortion business, in Sioux Falls, led the coalition of pro-abortion groups collecting signatures.
“The people of South Dakota … do not support this extreme ban,” Jan Nicolay, a former Republican state representative and co-chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, said at a press conference announcing the signatures.
However, South Dakota state Rep. Roger Hunt, a leading abortion ban sponsor, says state residents have a right to vote on the measure and expected them to uphold the ban.
"South Dakota has been electing pro-life legislators for years and years. The last 15 years. They’ve been electing a governor who’s a pro-life governor. All that tells me is the fact that the voters in this state are by in large, by a good majority, pro-life," he told KELO-TV.
Even if the abortion ban loses, he said it will have been a good educational effort exposing the problems of abortion and the humanity of unborn children.
"What this does is draw attention from the media to the whole issue the whole pro-life issue and that just is energizing more people across the U.S.," he said.
Petitions are normally due 90 days following the end of the legislative session, but the legislature this year counted two days as one legislative day and there was some question whether the pro-abortion signatures would need to be completed earlier.
Planned Parenthood could have taken the abortion ban to court to overturn it. But it decided to launch the petition drive instead to save on court fees and avoid the possibility that the Supreme Court might overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
Should state voters uphold the ban, Planned Parenthood can still challenge it in court.
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 is scheduled to go into effect July 1, but would be suspended pending the outcome of the November vote.