ACLU Condemns Vote in South Dakota House of Representatives Approving Legislation Aimed at Banning Abortions in That State

February 15, 2007 12:00 am

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Says State Lawmakers Continue to Play Politics with Women’s Health

PIERRE, SD — The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned a vote in the South Dakota House of Representatives approving legislation aimed at banning almost all abortions in that state. The legislation comes on the heels of a statewide election last November that repealed a similar ban at the polls.

“This ban is yet another unconstitutional attack on reproductive health care,” said Jennifer Ring, Executive Director of the ACLU of the Dakotas. “The legislature should concentrate its efforts on preventing unintended pregnancies and providing services for women who want to bear their children rather than deciding that women cannot be trusted to make this most intimate of decisions.”

In November 2006, the voters repealed a ban that would have outlawed nearly all abortions in the state – South Dakotans voted 56 to 44 percent against the measure. Today’s legislation would once again force voters to consider a ban on nearly all abortions in the state. Like last year’s measure, today’s ban poses a danger to the health and safety of women in the state, the ACLU said.

“South Dakotans made their voices heard last fall – families, not politicians, should make these very personal health care decisions,” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “What will it take to stop lawmakers from playing politics with women’s health?”

Today’s legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 45 to 25.

According to recent research, South Dakota is failing when it comes to protecting access to reproductive health care. In a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, South Dakota ranked 44th in the nation in its efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy.

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