South Dakota Abortion Advocates Launch Campaign to Defeat Pro-Life Measure

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Advocates Launch Campaign to Defeat Pro-Life Measure

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 12
, 2008

Pierre, SD ( — Abortion advocates in South Dakota on Tuesday officially launched their campaign against a November ballot proposal that would prohibit most abortions. They say the ban is just a first step in overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion center in the state, and the ACLU are leading the collection of pro-abortion groups.

State voters defeated a 2006 ban on a 56 to 44 vote that would have prohibited all abortions except those possibly necessary to protect a mother’s life.

With polls showing voters wanted an abortion ban with rape and incest exceptions, the VoteYesforLife group backing the measure added them and one exception for a mother’s health that is more narrow than the one pro-life advocates typically oppose.

However, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, in a statement about the ban this week, claims the new ballot measure is deceptive.

"They are being deceptive by characterizing this proposed law as more reasonable and less restrictive," Richards said. "The truth is that this ban would be the most rigid and inflexible ban on abortion in the United States."

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero also released a statement opposing the ban, saying it "would allow politicians to interfere with personal decisions best made by women and their families."

Should voters approve the ban, it would almost assuredly head to court as abortion advocates would immediately file a lawsuit against it to prohibit it from going into effect.

That also concerns some pro-life groups opposed to the strategy behind the measure as they say it will get to the Supreme Court — which has a 5-4 pro-abortion majority — and will likely be struck down. That would add to the case law supporting Roe, they worry.

In April, the Vote Yes for Life group supporting the ban turned in about 50,000 petition signatures to qualify it for the ballot — well above the 16,776 needed.

Leslee Unruh, a spokewoman for the pro-life group, says she thinks this second ban will pass because voters said they wanted to prohibit abortions with the limited exceptions.

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.

Related web sites:
Vote Yes for Life –
South Dakota Right to Life –


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