If you don’t succeed, try, try again

South Dakota, after the failed abortion ban of two years ago, is at it again. Anti-choice legislators have put Measure 11 on the ballot: essentially the same bill with an important, but weak, concession to victims of rape and incest. In Measure 11, abortion is allowed in the case of incest and rape – but only if the victim identifies her attacker, a DNA test proves that it his child, and the abortion occurs before 20 weeks. Abortions would be allowed to protect the health of the mother, but only if the failure of a major organ is at stake. What does this mean? Women with breast cancer would not be allowed to pursue chemotherapy treatments because the chemo may cause a miscarriage (and technically, in breast cancer, a major organ is not at stake).

These minimal exceptions seem to have made a big difference in the polls: where the abortion ban was shot down by a good margin two years ago (56%-44%), preliminary polls are showing almost a dead heat this time around (44%-44%). But are these exceptions even viable?

As it stands, South Dakota only has one abortion clinic (in Sioux Falls). Planned Parenthood has no abortion doctors on staff in the state – when needed, they fly them in from Minnesota: physicians who perform abortions are wary of practicing in a state with such strict restrictions. Women who need abortions for other reasons: mental health, financial, etc., will have to travel farther and farther from home, making abortion for them more expensive and more emotionally challenging. I suspect we will begin seeing more illegal abortions practiced in South Dakota if this measure passes.

Even if it doesn’t, anti-choice legislators in South Dakota say that they will continue to push for this ballot measure in every legislative session.


One Response

  1. […] points for Pro-Choice Posted on November 4, 2008 by studentsforchoice Measure 11 in South Dakota has been defeated, as has Colorado’s Definition of a Person Amendment.  Huge […]

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