The proposed constitutional abortion up-to-9-months amendment would be disastrous for our state if passed. It is radically anti-life and specifies that in the first trimester, no safety measures can be established by the legislature – no protections for the mother, no health standards, no requirement to tell parents if their 14-year-old daughter is undergoing an abortion – no safety standards whatsoever.

In the second trimester, the amendment would allow the legislature to “regulate” abortion, but only pertaining to the mother’s health – no legal measures could protect the life of the baby.

The amendment only gets worse from there. In the third trimester, the language appears to allow the protection of unborn life, but when you look closer, there’s a massive loophole: an abortion is legally justified any time an abortionist believes it is needed to “protect the mother’s health.”

But there are three reasons why this fight is ours to lose.

1 – There is Lack of Unity in the Pro-Abortion Camp

South Dakota pro-abortion groups are not in agreement over a potential ballot measure enshrining abortion into our state constitution. The measure is being pushed by “Dakotans for Health,” but is not supported by Planned Parenthood or the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Tim Stanley, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public affairs, wrote “We stand with our partners at ACLU of South Dakota and do not support the amendment as drafted because we don’t believe it will adequately reinstate the right to abortion in South Dakota.”

Abortion advocates claim their lack of support for the measure is because doesn’t go far enough, but in the next breath reveal another key reason for their silence. “There is a reason why two giant pro-choice organizations are not out there supporting this bill,” former Planned Parenthood staffer and pro-abortion advocate Kristin Hayward said in response to ACLU and Planned Parenthood’s stance on the current South Dakota petition.

The chairman of Dakotans for Health, Rick Weiland, seems proud of the fact that this measure has divided the pro-abortion lobby within South Dakota and activated pro-life activists, saying they “must be doing something correct” if both sides are attacking them.

2 – Ohio was a close vote, the numbers in South Dakota are different

Ohio’s recent abortion vote gives other us reason to be concerned – but as long as we stay vigilant and unified in our fight for life, South Dakota can have a different outcome. In the 2020 presidential election, Ohio voted for Trump over Biden with a 53% to 45% margin, whereas South Dakota went for Trump with a significantly stronger 61% to 35% margin. Additionally, Pew Research shows that South Dakota is overall more Republican (53-37) than Ohio (42-40). The abortion measure passed in Ohio by 57%, but the landscape in South Dakota is significantly different, which means a better outcome is possible.

Ohio’s pro-life loss is not indicative of how South Dakota will perform in the 2024 election.

3 – Neither side has a clear advantage in South Dakota (for now)

Recent polling has shown that South Dakotans are split on the issue. A recent poll from South Dakota News Watch shows that the question is “not currently getting majority support from either side.” Here are the results from a 500-person survey. When asked if they support or oppose the measure, the respondents answered:

45.6% – support

43.6% – oppose

10.8% – undecided

(Margin of error: 4.5%)

When the results are broken down by sex, we see that 50.2% of women oppose the measure, while 51% of men support it. The results of this poll clearly show that South Dakotan’s are still in the process of making their decision. It’s up to us to reach those who are undecided, or those who have been deceived by the lies of the petitioners, and explain the radical nature of the amendment.

If we work hard and maintain unity within South Dakota’s pro-life movement, we are confident that we can avoid what happened in Ohio and prevent the murder of unborn children in our state.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act.”

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer