South Dakota Abortion Ban Backers Say Opposition Coming From Washington
by Steven Ertelt
August 13, 2008
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — The backers of Initiated Measure 11, the November ballot proposal that would put a law on the books prohibiting most abortions, say most of the opposition to the measure is coming from out of state. Pro-abortion groups held a press conference in Washington earlier this week to launch their campaign against it.
The organizations are expected to funnel large amounts of campaign cash from out of state into South Dakota to oppose the measure.
Though pro-abortion groups will launch a concerted effort against it, Leslee Unruh of VoteYesforLife tells LifeNews.com that the support for the proposition comes from state residents.
"It is unfortunate that the opposition to Initiated Measure 11 is running their campaign from Washington, DC. The VoteYesForLife.com campaign is based in South Dakota and run by South Dakotans," she said.
"It is clear that the national pro-abortion community is making their last stand in South Dakota by bringing in ‘big guns’ such as Cecile Richards, President of National Planned Parenthood, and leaders from National Abortion Rights Action League," she added.
Unruh says her group expects a much stronger level of support for the proposal with the addition of minor exceptions.
"In 2006, the voters of South Dakota spoke loudly. They wanted to stop most abortions in South Dakota, but also wanted reasonable exceptions to allow women to have abortions in cases of rape, incest, life and health of the mother," she said.
"Initiated Measure 11 meets the demands to include these exceptions. This is a reasonable law requested by the people of South Dakota," she added.
"Current public polling shows a majority of South Dakota voters would vote Yes on Initiated Measure 11," Unruh added. "The campaign expects the number will increase to a healthy majority by election day and that the measure will pass with a large margin in November."
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.
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 turned in about 58,000 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.
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