Dakota Voice is reviewing the Report of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, in light of the upcoming November vote on Initiated Measure 11 to end most abortions in South Dakota.
Pertinent sections of the report will be reviewed each week for the next several weeks which may shed light on Initiated Measure 11.
The following is from Section II.A.5 on the findings of the report:
We received and reviewed the testimony of more than 1,940 women who have had abortions. This stunning and heart-wrenching testimony reveals that there are common experiences with abortions. Women were not told the truth about abortion, were misled into thinking that nothing but “tissue” was being removed, and relate that they would not have had an abortion if they were told the truth.
They relate that they were coerced into having the abortion by the father of the child or a parent, and that the abortion clinics also apply pressure to have the abortion. They almost uniformly express anger toward the abortion providers, their baby’s father, or society in general, which promote abortion as a great right, the exercise of which is good for women. They almost invariably state that they were encouraged to have an abortion by the mere fact that it was legal.
They are stunned by their grief and the negative impact it has had on their lives. Many of these women are angered by grief at the loss of a child they were told never existed. One woman testified before the Task Force about three abortions she was misled into having, only to find that she was rendered infertile by the vacuum aspiration that damaged her fallopian tubes. She was distraught at having to explain to her new husband why they could never have children. Each of these women’s stories is powerful.
The overwhelming majority of women testified that they would never have considered an abortion if it were not legal. Their testimony revealed that they feel that the legalization of abortion simply gave a license to others to pressure them into a decision they otherwise would not have made. Most of the women stated that abortion should not be legal.
Ms. Linda Schlueter, Vice President and Senior Staff Attorney of The Justice Foundation, testified that it is particularly significant that both of the plaintiffs in the landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, have sought to have the courts overturn the decisions because it is now so clear how abortion violates the rights, interests, and health of women. Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, believed that an abortion would help her, but she was never told about any physical, emotional, or psychological consequences. She actually never had an abortion herself, but her work in several abortion clinics caused her to see the truth. Sandra Cano, Doe in Doe v. Bolton, subsequently told the court that she never even wanted an abortion and her case was a fraud.
A year ago, Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, often mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote a published opinion in which she referred to the evidence provided by Ms. McCorvey in the Roe case, including the sworn affidavits submitted to this Task Force. Judge Jones stated that this evidence provided new and fresh information never before considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We find the testimonies of these women an important source of information about the way consents for abortions are taken, as well as many other matters relevant to the mandate given to this Task Force by HB 1233.
The 2005 South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion was created when the South Dakota legislature passed HB 1233 with a bipartisan majority in both houses. The purpose of the task force was “to study abortion and to provide for its composition, scope, and administration.” The report was completed in December 2005 after several months of meetings.