SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A grassroots healthcare organization wants to put the abortion issue on the ballot in South Dakota.
Dakotans for Health has developed language for a potential constitutional ballot measure, which if passed by state voters would make South Dakota's near total ban on abortion less restrictive.
Organization spokesman Rick Weiland says majority opinion should be the rule on abortion in South Dakota.
“The decision by the court, as you well know, was ‘let’s put it back to the states and let the voters decide.’ So that’s what we’re doing,” Weiland said. “We’re going to give the voters a choice, not a Legislature that’s heavily tilted.”
The proposed language says the state may regulate or prohibit abortion after the second trimester, except when necessary to preserve the life or physical or emotional health of a pregnant woman.
State law currently bans abortions except to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The South Dakota law, which was passed in 2005, mirrored a similar abortion ban lawmakers passed one year later.
The state attorney general’s office is reviewing the potential constitutional amendment language. The group cannot start circulating petitions until after the 2022 election, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.
The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Kristi Noem say they plan to call a special session to take up more abortion-related legislation, but no specific policies or dates have been announced.