South Dakota Bishop: Pro-Life Catholics Can Vote for Revised Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Bishop: Pro-Life Catholics Can Vote for Revised Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 23,

Pierre, SD ( — Bishop Paul Swain of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese says that pro-life Catholics in the state can vote for a new abortion ban that may well appear on the November 2008 even though it has exceptions for rape and incest.

The Catholic leader said the measure would ban so many abortions that it’s better to support it even though it doesn’t entirely conform with Catholic teaching saying that such abortions are immoral.

"Public officials can seek to provide as much protection as possible for the unborn," Swain said, according to an Argus Leader news report.

South Dakota voters previously defeated a ban that had only an exception to protect the life of the mother. Polls showed voters would have approved one with the rarely-used rape and incest exceptions.

Swain told 400 people at St. Joseph Cathedral that the Catholic Church favors the stronger abortion ban but can’t ignore that the revised one would prohibit about 98-99 percent of all abortions.

He said voting for the abortion ban would promote the "gradualism" or incremental approach that seeks to protect as many unborn children as possible as soon as possible.

At the same time, the Argus Leader indicated, he said that "if the time comes when exceptions can be removed, people have to work for it."

"It’s really an individual decision," the bishop said. "It’s a decision that needs to be made after study and real prayer."

There were 748 abortions performed in South Dakota in 2006, down from the 805 abortions performed in 2005, the South Dakota health department recently reported.

The South Dakota Department of Health reported that just 1.9 percent of all abortions there in 2006 involved threats to the mother’s life or rape or incest as a reason for the abortion.

Women were given multiple choices for the reason for the abortion and 85 percent involved the mother not wanting a baby at the time and another 21 percent involved the mother not having the financial means to have a child.

The number of abortions to protect the woman’s life or for reasons of sexual abuse have dropped over the years.