South Dakota Activists Do the Job!

June 01, 2006

On May 30, 2006, the South Dakota Healthy Families Campaign sent a big thank you to its grassroots activists who collected more than twice the number of signatures needed to challenge South Dakota's law banning abortion. Entitled: 37,846: Thank You! they wrote:


Thanks to your hard work in circulating petitions the past nine weeks, we will be filing with the Secretary of State today, the names of nearly 38,000 South Dakotans who are calling for the repeal of the extreme abortion ban enacted by the South Dakota legislature and signed into law by Governor Rounds in March.

Once certified by the Secretary of State, the legislation will be on the November ballot for the voters of South Dakota to say "no" to the extremists who pushed this radical legislation that will be detrimental to South Dakota families.

We will keep you up to date about the next steps to be taken in this important campaign.

Below is the text of the press release announcing today's news:

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Today, the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families announced the filing of nearly 38,000 signatures on petitions to repeal the extreme abortion ban passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Rounds on March 6. Petitions will be filed with the Secretary of State at 2 pm today.

At press events in seven South Dakota communities, supporters of the repeal announced the tremendous support they received circulating petitions across the state.

• 1,200 volunteers from 138 cities and towns circulated the petitions.
• All petitions were circulated by volunteers as opposed to paid staff used by many petition drives.
• People from every county in the state have signed the petitions and are calling for the repeal of this extreme measure.
• Business leaders and homemakers, ministers and doctors, nurses and teachers, students, construction workers and store clerks joined our effort to ask the voters of South Dakota to repeal the extreme ban on abortions.

“This abortion ban was pushed by radical groups who want our state to be the center of the national legal battle waged in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade,” said Jan Nicolay, Co-Chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. “Defending this extreme law, that is clearly unconstitutional, could cost the taxpayers of South Dakota millions of dollars and drag the good people of South Dakota into the center of the national abortion debate,” Nicolay continued.

“While the South Dakota legislature refused to let voters have their say on this important issue, we will offer them that chance,” said Dr. Maria Bell, the official sponsor of the petition drive. “We are so proud and humbled today, to announce that 37,846 South Dakota voters have signed the petitions and are calling for the repeal of this extreme ban on abortions,” Bell continued.

Bell added, “Citizens from all 66 South Dakota counties have signed the petitions calling for the repeal of this far-reaching measure. People from all walks of life, young and old, Democrats, Independents and Republicans are saying this law went too far.” “When a woman’s health is in danger, all medical options should be available. When a woman is the tragic victim of rape or incest, she deserves compassionate options about her future. Emergency contraception is often not a valid or realistic alternative,” said Bell.

“We hope this campaign will be respectful by all participants and also reflect the serious nature of this issue, which has extraordinary legal and medical consequences for the women, families, doctors and hospitals in South Dakota, “ said Nicolay.

More than 1,200 volunteers from across South Dakota gathered the nearly 38,000 signatures. This incredible show of support is proof enough that politicians in Pierre went too far.