South Dakota Doctors Group, Senator Johnson Oppose State Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Doctors Group, Senator Johnson Oppose State Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 28
, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — The South Dakota chapter of a national doctors group that has long been accused of putting politics over medicine when it comes to abortion has said it opposes a statewide abortion ban that will appear on the November ballot. Meanwhile, pro-abortion Sen. Tim Johnson also says he will vote against the ban.

The South Dakota chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which includes 89 obstetricians across the state, said voters should reject the abortion ban.

The group says voters should oppose the abortion ban "for the sake of women’s health in South Dakota and for the protection of medical decision-making within our state."

According to a report in the Argus Leader newspaper, the group says the ban lacks a health exception, even though abortions typically present both medical and mental health problems for women.

The group also said a lack of rape and incest exceptions "deprives our patients of their fundamental right to optimal medical care without government interference."

"We physicians are placed in the unconscionable position of either treating our patients in a medically appropriate fashion and being prosecuted as criminals under this ban, or not treating appropriately and not only facing claims of negligence but, worse, seeing our patients suffer," the group said in a statement, according to the Argus Leader.

But not all doctors or OBGYN’s agree with ACOG’s political recommendations.

Dr. Jane Gaetze, a Sioux Falls ob-gyn, told the newspaper that doctors will have no problems treating women because the ban just targets abortions. She said that doctors who treat pregnant women normally and the unborn baby dies as a result of the treatment have no worries about being prosecuted.

"If the first intention is to serve both the mother and the baby, and a pregnancy loss occurs as the result of the medication, that is not an intended side effect," Gaetze told the Argus Leader.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion Sen. Tim Johnson recorded a telephone message that went out to state voters Tuesday urging them to vote against it. The Campaign for Healthy Families, the abortion advocacy group trying to defeat the ban, paid for the message.

Johnson called the abortion ban "an extreme and radical approach to a very difficult and personal subject."

Bruce Whalen, who is challenging pro-abortion Rep. Stephanie Herseth, says he backs the abortion ban and hopes South Dakota voters will do the same.

"Sixty-seven percent of legislators here say (the abortion ban) is a good idea. I guess Tim Johnson is telling us he is pro-death," he told the newspaper.

Abortion advocates previously ran a commercial claiming that Referred Law 6 gives women who are victimized by rape and incest "no options" even though the measure does not prohibit women in such circumstances from using the morning after pill.

Since the state legislature approved the ban, the FDA has approved sales of the Plan B drug to anyone over the age of 18 at a local pharmacy without a prescription.

The abortion ban also does not restrict or limit medical care, treatment for possible sexually transmitted diseases, and care to help victims with mental health issues following such incidents.

Leslee Unruh, who heads up the pro-life group defending the abortion ban, told the Dakota Voice, "The opponents of Referred Law 6 are dishonest about the options available to rape and incest victims."

"Their message that abortion is the only option available to victims of rape and incest is dishonest. It is harmful to women who need to know the truth. They exploit those victims to protect the abortion industry," Unruh added.

The rape and incest arguments are important given the results of the most recent poll on the abortion ban.

A July poll found 47 percent of voters oppose the ban, 39 percent favor it and 14 percent are undecided.

The survey also asked voters how they would vote if the ban had included rape and incest exceptions. 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.

Related web sites:
Vote Yes for Life –