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abortion
(11/06/06) -

South Dakotans Could Block Abortion Ban

- Adults in South Dakota could cancel a proposed change to pregnancy termination guidelines, according to a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. 52 per cent of respondents in the Mount Rushmore State oppose the ban on abortion, up nine points since July.

- Adults in South Dakota could cancel a proposed change to pregnancy termination guidelines, according to a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. 52 per cent of respondents in the Mount Rushmore State oppose the ban on abortion, up nine points since July.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling gave women in the United States the right to an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and regulated the procedure during the second trimester “in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” In the third trimester, a state can choose to proscribe abortion, except when necessary “for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

In February, the South Dakota Legislature passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a crime unless the procedure is deemed necessary to save a woman’s life, and makes no exception for cases of incest or rape. In March, South Dakota governor Mike Rounds signed the bill into law. Rounds issued a statement, which read, “The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.”

The law was scheduled to take effect on Jul. 1, but opponents gathered close to 38,000 signatures to force a special election on Nov. 7.

South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families co-chairwoman Jan Nicolay expressed satisfaction with the numbers, saying, “There is a growing consensus that we should keep all options open for women whose health is in jeopardy and for victims of rape and incest.” VoteYesForLife.com campaign manager Leslee Unruh declared, “The only poll that counts is on Election Day, and we intend to win.”

Polling Data

Do you support or oppose the state’s ban on abortion?

Oct. 2006

Jul. 2006

Support

42%

39%

Oppose

52%

47%

Not sure

6%

14%

Source: Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc.
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 800 registered South Dakota voters, conducted from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, 2006. Margin of error is 3.5 per cent.