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South Dakota extreme pro-abortion amendment moves forward

by | May 7, 2024

By Bridget Sielicki, Live Action News

A coalition working to put a measure to enshrine the “right” to abortion in South Dakota’s constitution has announced that it has secured enough signatures to move forward with getting the measure on this year’s ballot.

The group leading the effort, Dakotans for Health, announced Wednesday that it collected the signatures of more than 55,000 registered voters, far more than the 35,000 that were needed to proceed.

South Dakota law currently protects nearly all preborn children from abortion. Members of the pro-life group Life Defense Fund warn that if passed, the proposed amendment would not only undo that law, but also allow abortion all the way to the point of birth. It would also eliminate measures like parental notification laws, conscience protections for medical professionals, and facility requirements for abortion businesses.

Not all abortion supporters are in favor of the measure, however, as some say it isn’t radical enough.

“In particular, it does not have the strongest legal standard by which a court must evaluate restrictions on abortion, and thereby runs the risk of establishing a right to abortion in name only which could impede future efforts to ensure every South Dakotan has meaningful access to abortion without medically unnecessary restrictions,” ACLU of South Dakota executive director Libby Skarin told the Associated Press in a written statement.

Organizers with Life Defense Fund announced that they plan to challenge the ballot initiative effort, as they say that ballot organizers tricked people into signing with “lies and deception.”

“[P]eople being told that they’re signing a food tax petition, and really, it ended up being the abortion petition,” Leslee Unruh, Life Defense Fund co-chair, told South Dakota Searchlight. “And we have hundreds of hours’ worth of video. We can’t wait to get to court.”

Notwithstanding the results of that legal challenge, the Secretary of State’s Office will next verify the signatures to ensure they are from South Dakota residents.

Categories: State Legislation