South Dakota Lawmakers Who Opposed Abortion Ban Defeated in Primary

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Lawmakers Who Opposed Abortion Ban Defeated in Primary Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 7, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — Lawmakers who opposed the statewide ban on virtually all abortions that the state legislature approved earlier this year did so at their own peril. Four Republican state senators who opposed the ban were defeated Tuesday in primary elections there while those who supported the ban were successful.

One of the most heated races over the issue of abortion involved Sen. Stan Adelstein of Rapid City. Adelstein faces Elli Schwiesow, vice chairman of the state Republican party and a strong pro-life advocate.

In 2004, Schwiesow lost to Adelstein but defeated him this time by a 52-48 percent margin after he voted against the ban. He said he could not support it because it did not include exceptions for rape and incest.

In an interview with South Dakota Public Radio, Schwiesow said her pro-life views, couple with Adelstein’s vote against the abortion ban, made the difference.

"We know what’s at stake you know when you fight the values that you so deeply believe in and that I feel our country was founded on," she said. "It’s important, and I’m proud that South Dakota is leading the way in this fight."

Leslie Unruh of Sioux Falls, a pro-life advocate who directs a pregnancy center and heads up a national abstinence group, said votes on the abortion ban were the deciding factor in many primaries.

"South Dakotans are proud of the bold legislation passed this past session. Anyone who says otherwise should look at the outcomes of the primaries," she said in a statement.

"These races show that South Dakotans know abortion harms women," Unruh said. "The incumbent legislators who voted in favor of women’s health and babies’ lives won their races. They are vindicated."

"Citizens support protections for women and children. The extreme senators who voted against the bill and who were facing challenges were defeated," Unruh added.

Other Republican lawmakers who voted against the ban and went down to defeat included State Sen. J.P. Duniphan of Rapid City, who lost 61-39 to challenger Dennis Schmidt; Sen. Clarence Kooistra of Garretson who lost to challenger Arnie Hauge 61-39; and Sen. Duane Sutton of Aberdeen who lost to Isaac Latterell 51-49 percent.

The battles weren’t partisan as State Sen. Julie Bartling, a Democrat who sponsored the abortion ban, fended off two Democratic challenges to win her primary.

In other key battles, state Sen. Brock Greenfield, a Republican who heads South Dakota Right to Life, won his re-election effort by a wide margin.