South Dakota Abortion Ban Advocates Use “Feminist” Language

Anti-abortion advocates in South Dakota have turned to women-centered messages to promote the extensive abortion ban on November’s ballot. While some anti-abortion advocates are using traditional “pro-life” messages by holding a “bucks for babies” fundraiser or a Rock for Life concert, others are promoting the message that “abortion hurts women,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Some anti-abortion advocates are even using emergency contraception (EC) as an alternative to abortion for the sake of legitimizing the South Dakota ban, Feministing reports.

The anti-abortion camp is alleging that the right to chose a legal, safe abortion “exploits women,” UPI reports. Leslee Unruh, a campaign manager for South Dakota’s anti-abortion activists, told the Los Angeles Times, “We women buy the choice line. We’re panicked , or we’re being pressured,” but that “if you don’t do your job right as a mother, what good is anything else?”

Unruh’s logic echoes that of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion by arguing that choosing an abortion is against the nature of women. The task force’s report claimed that a woman would never freely choose abortion because to do so would violate “the mother’s fundamental natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child,” the American Prospect reports.

The ban (SD HB 1215) would criminalize all abortions without exceptions for rape, incest, or a woman’s health. The only exception would be to prevent the death of a woman. Jan Nicolay, co-chair of the Campaign for Healthy Families, which is leading the efforts to defeat the ban, told Reuters, “the only time you can even discuss an abortion is when a woman is dying. We can’t let this happen.” The ban was signed into law March 6 by Governor Mike Rounds, but was stayed by petitioners who gathered enough signatures to move the ban onto the November 7th ballot.

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The Los Angeles Times 10/9/06; Reuters 10/11/06; UPI 10/9/06; Kaiser Daily WomenÕs Health Policy 10/12/06, 10/10/06; American Prospect 10/3/06; Feministing.com 10/11/06

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