South Dakota Abortion Ban Debate Centers on Women and Rape, Incest

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 21, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Ban Debate Centers on Women and Rape, Incest Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 21, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — Women who are victims of rape or incest have become the center of debate over an upcoming vote on a statewide abortion ban that doesn’t include exceptions in those cases. However, supporters of the ban say such women are not left out in the cold.

As a more pro-life state than the rest of the nation, South Dakota voters are typically opposed to abortion, but some voters are having problems supporting the abortion ban because it doesn’t have exceptions in the very rare cases of rape and incest.

But backers say the abortion ban does offer help for women in those instances.

While women victimized by rape couldn’t get an abortion, the legislation allows them to obtain the morning after pill to make sure that conception doesn’t take place.

Dr. Stephen Billion of Sioux Falls, who supports the ban, told the Associated Press that only 40 percent of women who are raped report the incident and very few become pregnant. But those who are concerned about a pregnancy would be able to get the Plan B drug, under the ban, to try to prevent it.

But, Maria Bell of Sioux Falls, an abortion advocate, told AP that that section of the abortion ban is no help for women who are raped and want an abortion.

"Backpedaling to try to capture that segment of the population who disagrees with them is, frankly, a bald-faced lie," Bell told AP.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll found 47 percent of voters oppose the ban, 39 percent favor it and 14 percent are undecided. However, when asked if they would support the ban if it had exceptions for rape and incest, the percentage of those backing it rose dramatically.

Under that scenario, 59 percent said they would vote for the ban, 29 percent would vote against the abortion ban and 12 percent were unsure how they would vote.

As a result, the discussion of how to help women victimized by rape and incest could affect whether voters ultimately approve it.

Vote Yes for Life on Six, formed to urge state residents to back the abortion ban, says the section in it allowing the use of the morning after pill is essentially a rape and incest exception that should mollify the concerns of those oppose to the ban for that reason.

The ban prohibits all abortions except in cases when necessary to save the life of the mother and, in those cases, the person doing the abortion is instructed to do everything possible to save the life of the mother.

Related web sites:
Vote Yes for Life on Six –


Ad Row 1


Position 9


Ad Row 2


Ad Row 1


Home Sidebar 1


Ad Row 4