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Post-Election Report Shows SD "Voter Fatigue" With Abortion Issue

January 8, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD - South Dakota voters opposed the 2008 abortion ban by a slightly wider margin, less than one percent, than they recorded when they defeated it in the 2006 election. Nathan Peterson, spokesman for the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which reported the statistics, says a significant finding was that, despite predictions that an abortion ban with narrow exceptions might pass, voters still rejected the idea.

"In both 2006 and 2008, a majority of voters in 32 out of 35 legislative districts in South Dakota opposed the abortion ban. Those results are sending a pretty strong signal to politicians and activists who might be intent on reviving this divisive debate that it's time to move on. The voters have spoken on this issue, and the inclusion of exceptions in an abortion ban, or differences of nuance between two different pieces of legislation, doesn't make a difference to the voters. They oppose banning abortion in South Dakota."

Peterson says his group's data show that South Dakotans would prefer that policymakers focus on other matters.

"We found that, by a 31-point margin, voters across the state indicated that they would prefer to see programs that prevent unintended pregnancy, versus additional attempts from the legislature to restrict access to abortion."

Anti-abortion supporters say they may attempt to bring the issue back for yet another vote.

David Law, Public News Service - SD