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South Dakota Abortion Ban, Here We Go Again

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October 7, 2008

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

It’s like nothing has changed since 2006. South Dakota has another abortion ban on its ballot. And I returned this past weekend to Sioux Falls to volunteer again with the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. There I was sitting in the car, still incredibly nervous about knocking on a stranger’s door to talk about why he or she should vote against Measure 11 and let families decide personal matters for themselves.

Again, I learned the same not-so-obvious lesson I was taught in 2006: elections are decided by people. Not television ads, lawn signs, or press conferences. What matters are the face- to-face conversations that happen at the supermarket, with your family, or on your doorstep on a sunny Saturday in October. Throughout the weekend, my fellow volunteers and I had the opportunity to really explore with folks why they’re voting either against or for the ban. Our presence was extremely appreciated by South Dakotans questioning Measure 11. By proudly and publicly voicing our strong opposition, we showed those opposing this intrusive measure that they’re not alone. These personal reassurances should not be underestimated.

On Sunday morning, I spent an hour jumping up and down like a madwoman at a major Sioux Falls intersection every time a car driver honked his or her support. But the incredible rush I felt each time a horn went off is not what I’ll remember. Instead, it will be the personal conversations. I had the privilege of meeting Tiffany Campbell, a South Dakotan mother who strongly opposes the ban. Two years ago, a pregnant Tiffany had to abort one of her twins to save the life of the other. Tiffany is working with the Campaign to ensure that all women have the freedom to decide what is best for themselves and their family. I am so moved by Tiffany’s courage and strength.

Like many of you, I have been reading about the South Dakota abortion ban in the newspapers and on the blogs. I know that it is a ban on virtually all abortions. I know that South Dakotans decisively defeated a similar ban only two years ago. And I know that it is an attempt by anti-abortion activists to overturn Roe v. Wade. But I had forgotten what one weekend of volunteering in Sioux Falls could do to stop this initiative from becoming law. And by writing this blog and talking to my friends and family about my experience, I remember how important it is that we continue to keep talking both on doorsteps in South Dakota and in our own homes. It is a critical component to defeating this dangerous measure come November.

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