South Dakota Group Claims Lawmakers Failed Voters on Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Group Claims Lawmakers Failed Voters on Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 9
, 2007

Pierre, SD ( — The pro-abortion group that led the efforts to oppose the abortion ban on the state ballot last November is claiming in a new report that state legislators misrepresented voters. The group points to the election results and says the voters in most districts took different positions on the ban than their representatives.

The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families said most lawmakers who voted for the ban in the legislature saw their constituents vote against it.

The group said 65 of the 73 senators and representatives who voted for the ban in the state legislature saw a majority of their constituents vote against it.

"In every instance that we looked at, almost all of the legislators that voted for the restrictive abortion ban in South Dakota were almost completely out of touch with their constituencies," Nathan Peterson, a spokesman for the pro-abortion group, told the Rapid City Journal newspaper.

However, polls before the abortion ban vote showed a strong majority of state voters would support a ban on abortion if it contained rape and incest exceptions — meaning most pro-life lawmakers are in line with voters who oppose most abortions.

Those polls have prompted some state legislators to consider a new abortion ban containing those exceptions. The last one only included an exception to allow abortions in extremely rare cases to protect the life of the mother.

Leslee Unruh, who headed the Vote Yes for Life group that supported the abortion ban, said the organization is currently in "strategy-political mode" to determine the best course of action in this year’s legislative session.

"We promised the South Dakota voters and the pro-life people that we would not go away, we would continue to fight," Unruh told the Rapid City newspaper. "So we are planning on being very busy. And 2007 is probably going to be more in the news than 2006 even was."

However, several lawmakers have said they don’t think a revised abortion ban will be in the works this year.