REPORT OF THE SOUTH DAKOTA TASK FORCE TO STUDY ABORTION: A CLOSER LOOK
Legislative Recommendations from the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion
By Bob Ellis
*The following is the first in a series of features Dakota Voice will be publishing which takes a closer look at the report prepared by the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion.
The South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, commissioned by the state legislature during the 2005 session, has released its official report.
During hearings on House Bill 1166 regarding abortion and medical informed consent, committees in the House and Senate heard testimony from a considerable number of women who have had abortions. It became apparent that many of them had signed abortion consent forms without truly being informed about all relevant aspects of the procedure.
According to the report just released by the task force, during the HB 1166 hearings, one woman testified:
"the policy underlying abortion is a lie. First and foremost, because it denies the essential benefit of motherhood. It tells us that we are not forfeiting anything of value for ourselves. We are told we lost nothing, nothing of value. The truth is that the loss is massive. Massive and life altering. Your House Bill 1166 provides 5 an important and essential message that the pregnant mother does have a great benefit, that her child already exists and that she has this existing relationship with her child, and that she has a great fundamental and constitutional right to that relationship, all of which she is giving up, all of which is lost as a result of the abortion...If I had been given this information, I would never had had an abortion."
In light of these findings, the legislature passed HB 1233, forming the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion.
The task force met six times between August and December 2005, hearing testimony from experts, interested parties, and from women who have had abortions.
In light of new information which has been learned since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the United States by judicial fiat, the task force believes the Supreme Court should reconsider the Roe decision.
The task force recommends and urges a legal ban on abortion, but recognizes that this may not happen right away, especially since such a law would undoubtedly be challenged by pro-abortion groups and have to work its way through appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the meantime, the task force has proposed the following additional legislation in an effort to reduce the loss of life and harm caused by abortion:
HB 1233, the act which created the abortion task force was passed by a 63-4 vote in the state House and 28-6 in the state Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Mike Rounds in March 2005.
Voting against the act in the House were: Joni M. Cutler (R-14 Sioux Falls), Casey Murschel (R-12 Sioux Falls), Charles Turbiville (R-31 Deadwood), and Thomas Van Norman (D-28A Eagle Butte). Voting against the act in the Senate were: Thomas Dempster (R-9 Sioux falls), Dave Knudson (R-14 Sioux Falls), Ben Nesselhuf (D-17 Vermillion), Duane Sutton (R-3 Aberdeen), Theresa Two Bulls (D-27 Pine Ridge) and Clarence Kooistra (R-25 Garretson).
The following members were appointed to the task force by Governor Mike Rounds: State Senator Stan Adelstein (R-Rapid City), Dr. Marty Allison of Pierre, State Senator Julie Bartling (D-Burke), Dr. Maria Bell of Sioux Falls, Travis Benson of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, University of South Dakota law professor David Day, State Senator Jay Duenwald (R-Hoven), State Senator Brock Greenfield (R-Clark), Rapid City therapist Linda Holcomb, State Rep. Roger Hunt (R-Brandon), State Rep. Elizabeth Kraus (R-Rapid City), Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota Director Kate Looby, State Rep. Kathy Miles (D-Sioux Falls), John Stransky, State Rep. Theresa Two Bulls (D-Pine Ridge), Dr. Allen Unruh of Sioux Falls, and Dr. David Wachs of Aberdeen.