As the petition deadline approaches in a couple of weeks, efforts continue in South Dakota to get the 16,776 petition signatures required to put the latest abortion ban measure on the November ballot.
This measure differs from the one in 2006 which contained no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. Supporters believed that was the most logical and consistent measure, since even children conceived in rape possess the same human dignity as any other child. Also, while there are few genuine reasons when an abortion may be necessary to preserve the physical health of the mother (1.5% of the abortions done in South Dakota in 2006 were for this reason), such an exception may be abused to justify abortion for other reasons.
Because that measure was rejected by voters, but polls taken that year indicted approx. 75% of voters would support a measure with exceptions, this time abortion opponents created a measure which contained exceptions for rape, incest, the health and life of the mother.
While these exceptions may be a concern for pro-life people who believe in the human dignity of all unborn children, the exceptions are very strictly worded so as to prevent abuse.
For instance, the rape exception requires that the rape be reported to law enforcement and that DNA evidence from the child be preserved for a match to the perpetrator. The incest exception contains similar requirements. Rape and incest made up 0.4% of the abortions done in 2006.
The health exception specifies that it is only allowed when there is “serious risk of a substantial and irreversible impairment of the functioning of a major bodily organ or system” which could be prevented by an abortion. This must be certified by a doctor.
Based on the reasons given for abortions in South Dakota in 2006 in a South Dakota Department of Health report, the proposed ban would prevent 98.1% of abortions in South Dakota.
Many pro-lifers believe it is better to save the 98.1% that can be saved under this bill, than to do nothing and save 0% of unborn children.
When pro-abortion groups spoke out against the 2006 bill, the reason given was the lack of exceptions. However, some of those same groups may be proving the disingenuousness that was suspected at the time.
According to an article from KELO today, the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the ironically named group which spearheaded efforts to defeat the 2006 bill, have condemned the new bill because of the exceptions.
But Campaign for Healthy Families takes issue with those exceptions, saying it’s an invasion of privacy for victims and interferes with doctor patient care.
“It is the cruelest and most callous approach to what it does to victims of rape and incest. It puts them through a bureaucratic process that is almost unforgivable. In our eyes in terms of those kinds of victims and then we victimize them again,” Nicolay said.
Unruh says the additional requirements are designed to catch and prosecute rapists.
“As far as bureaucratic, we want to find the man. We should all want to find the man and put him in jail, so he doesn’t hurt other women,” Unruh said.
South Dakota pro-lifers say that a woman who has been raped needs justice, and the public needs to be protected from the man who raped her. That cannot be done if the rape is not reported to police and evidence is not gathered.
Abortion opponents also point out that the “doctor patient relationship” often cited by abortion advocates is practically non-existent. Abortions in South Dakota are performed by doctors who are flown in from Minnesota to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, and most women don’t see the doctor until the abortion is about to be performed.
LifeNews.com today quotes VoteYesForLife.com board member Leslee Unruh:
On Wednesday, Unruh told the Argus Leader she “didn’t want to guess” how many signatures the pro-life group has collected.
“But there’s no doubt we will reach the number we need by April 1st,” Unruh said about reaching the deadline.
If the measure gets on the ballot in November and passes, it will be a historic protection for unborn children not seen since the 1973 Supreme Court legalization of abortion.