South Dakota group rekindles push to ban abortionby Cara Hetland, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Two years ago, voters defeated a law passed by the South Dakota Legislature that would have banned abortion in the state.
There's an effort underway again to ban abortions; this time a there's a petition drive aimed at taking the measure directly to the people for a public vote. The law would ban abortions except to protect the life and health of a pregnant woman, or in cases involving rape or incest.
The organization called "Vote Yes for Life" has two weeks to gather 17,000 signatures. That's what's required to put the initiated law to a public vote in November.
Rep. Mary Glenski, D-Sioux Falls, said she supports the abortion ban. Glenski said that two years ago, 56 percent of voters rejected the ban. Many wanted exceptions for cases of rape or incest. She said the exception will a harder sell to the people who want a total ban.
"I think while people say this is what we prefer I still go back to what is politically possible and what's politically possible is what's in this petition drive," Glenski said.
Opponents of the abortion ban say the measure requires that victims of rape and incest report the crime. It also requires the submission of fetal tissue samples.
Jan Nicolay opposes the proposed law. She said lawmakers could change the law if it's passed.
"They are only doing this because they want to do one thing -- get it on (the ballot), get it passed and then come in and take out the exceptions and we'll be back to where we were with a total ban in '06," Nicolay said.
Supporters of the proposed ban don't deny the claim, but they say they're focusing now on getting the issue on the ballot. If they do collect the necessary 17,000 signatures by April 1st, the issue will be on the November ballot.