FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PIERRE, SD — The American Civil Liberties Union today celebrated the defeat of a dangerous and extreme ban on virtually all abortions in South Dakota. A referendum to repeal the ban was on yesterday’s ballot in the statewide election.
“In defeating this dangerous abortion ban, South Dakotans made their voices heard: Families, not government, should make these very personal health care decisions,” said Jennifer Ring, Executive Director of the ACLU of the Dakotas. “Yesterday’s vote was a victory for women’s health and the rights of families.”
The ban, which was passed by the South Dakota legislature in February and signed by Governor Mike Rounds in March, would have outlawed nearly all abortions in South Dakota.
“Lawmakers passed the ban in a deliberate attempt to challenge women’s access to safe and legal abortion; however, yesterday’s vote shows that South Dakotans do not want policies that endanger women’s health,” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Women need better access to reproductive health care, from prenatal care to contraception to safe and legal abortion. It is time to set aside political differences and put the health of women and families first.”
According to recent research South Dakota is failing when it comes to protecting access to reproductive health care. Ninety-eight percent of counties in the state are without an abortion provider, and in a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, South Dakota ranked 44th in the nation in its efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy.
In related victories for women’s health, voters in Oregon and California yesterday defeated measures aimed at restricting teenagers’ access to abortion.