South Dakota Secretary of State Will Decide on Abortion Ban Signatures Soon
by Steven Ertelt
April 23, 2008
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — The South Dakota Secretary of State should decide soon on whether or not a pro-life group has turned in enough signatures to qualify a second attempt at banning most abortions. Vote Yes for Life turned in about 50,000 signatures to qualify the ban for the November ballot and needed only 16,776.
Secretary of State Chris Nelson said Tuesday his office is completing the process of counting and validating the signatures and that it should be finished by the end of the week.
After turning in the signatures, campaign manager Cherlyn Bosch told LifeNews.com, The fact that the people of this state were able to collect above and beyond the number of signatures we needed — facing a harsh winter with subzero temperatures — shows an enormous outpouring of support of this issue."
Dr. Scott Ecklund, another representative of the pro-life group, is convinced the success in signature gathering proves what polls showed after the first abortion ban failed in 2006.
That November, state voters narrowly rejected an abortion ban that prohibited all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother.
Yet, polls showed voters would have approved the ban had it contained exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. This year, the organization has come back with a new ban that adds those exemptions.
This initiative provides exceptions to allow for those rare cases. This is what the voters of South Dakota have asked for and this is the law to make that happen," Ecklund said.
However, not every pro-life group in the state is on board with the newly proposed abortion ban.
South Dakota Right to Life says it can’t back the ban because it can’t endorse a measure that allows abortions even in the very rare cases when a woman is a victim of sexual abuse.
SDRTL President George Dummann told LifeNews.com the ban’s "rape and incest and health-of-the-mother exceptions imply that some babies can be killed."
Vote Yes for Life did not rely on paid petition gatherers and instead used an all-volunteer effort.
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.