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SD Campaign for Healthy Families Enters Abortion Debate

August 13, 2008

Sioux Falls, SD - The details of the proposed abortion ban initiative are too blurry, according to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. The group is opening a campaign encouraging voters to scrutinize the initiative, which will be on South Dakota's ballot in November.

Campaign director Nathan Peterson says the initiative is being promoted as banning abortions except in cases of rape, or to protect a woman's health. However, he says, the "fine print" tells another story.

"Take for example the so-called health exception. It's poorly written and extremely vague. Doctors have told us that because it's so vague, and so hard to define, there's not a doctor in the state that would risk a felony charge to perform an abortion, even if he thought that procedure was in the woman's best medical interest."

Peterson is concerned that the abortion ban is also missing provisions for fatal fetal anomalies.

"What that means is that even if a fetus won't be able to survive outside of the womb following birth, that patient will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term."

The initiative's proponents argue they want to stop abortion from being used as birth control.

Peterson says he suspects that South Dakota is being used as a "pawn" in a larger national agenda by activists who want to eventually ban all abortions in the U.S. Doctors who perform abortions in violation of the initiative's provisions could be charged with a class-four felony, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

More information on the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is available online at

David Law/Steve Powers, Public News Service - SD