South Dakota May Again Consider Ballot Proposal Banning Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota May Again Consider Ballot Proposal Banning Abortions Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 5,

Pierre, SD ( — South Dakota could become an abortion battleground once again next year if pro-life advocates there place another ballot proposal before voters. That appears to be happening as such a proposal has been submitted to the Legislative Research Council for review.

The idea is not yet being circulated across the state in a form of a petition to get abortion back up for consideration.

Once that happens, pro-life groups would need 16,776 signatures of registered voters by April.

Leslee Unruh, who headed the group that backed the abortion ban last time, would not confirm to the Associated Press if her organization is behind this new effort.

In her most recent public comments last month, Unruh said pro-life advocates would not give up on their efforts to prohibit abortions there.

State Rep. Roger Hunt, a Republican who helped push the ban last time, said either a ballot proposal or another legislative effort to ban abortions is likely next year.

"Stay tuned," Hunt said. "I do believe the pro-life interests across the state are looking at both of these routes."

Voters rejected the first abortion ban on a 56 to 44 margin at the polls last November. It prohibited all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother.

Yet, surveys consistently showed a large majority of voters would approve a ban with rape and incest exceptions. Pro-life groups sponsoring the first ban said they would come back with another one with those exceptions.

A survey by the Maryland-based firm Research 2000 found voters would be more inclined to support the abortion ban if it included exceptions for rape and incest, with 58 percent saying they would support such a ban and 30 percent saying they would not.

Had South Dakota voters upheld the abortion ban, Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state, would have taken the law to court. That could have led to a battle to challenge Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.