South Dakota Abortion Ban Under Continued Assault on Rape, Incest

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 14, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Ban Under Continued Assault on Rape, Incest Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 14
, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — A South Dakota abortion ban is coming under renewed assault from abortion advocates who insist that it will leave women who are victims of rape and incest out in the cold. However, the ban, which prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother, contains provisions to help women in such cases.

At a publicity event in Sioux Falls, pro-abortion groups exploited the stories of women who had been raped to engender opposition to the bill.

Connie Pich, who was 18 when she was raped, told her story by telephone at a news conference put on by the group trying to defeat the ban. She said she never thought about whether she would get pregnant.

"It was so difficult for me to think of pregnancy because I had just shut down," Pich said, according to a Yankton newspaper report. "It didn’t feel like, it didn’t seem like sex to me, even though I felt guilty if someone would know that this happened to me."

But Leslie Unruh, a woman who had an abortion who heads up a pregnancy center and the campaign to support the ban, said it has a provision that would protect women like Pich.

Unruh said the abortion ban allows women who have been victimized by rape or incest to get emergency contraception. She said women who come to her for counseling and help after a rape are rarely pregnant, but the ban would provide a means for getting the morning after pill.

She also said it was wrong to assume that women who were raped would want emergency contraception or an abortion.

She told the Yankton newspaper about Megan Barnett of Aberdeen, who told the state legislature during the debate on the abortion ban that she was offered the morning after pill twice after she was raped but declined saying she didn’t want it or an abortion.

“If I had wanted to prevent the pregnancy, Referred Law 6 would have given me the time to do that,” she said. “I was offered emergency contraception twice and chose not to take it.”

Barb Walker, an Aberdeen sex crime survivor, agreed.

“I was raped years ago and HB 1215 would have provided options for me," she said in response to the abortion advocates.

Unruh also said that abortion isn’t helpful in rape and incest cases because it can aid the perpetrator in covering up the crime.

“Abortionists cover up sex crimes by scaring women into thinking abortion is the only solution," she said.

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