For the second consecutive election, a South Dakota ballot initiative to ban abortion has failed by double digits.
The initiative proposed to criminalize abortions – with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 fine – except for those done to save the life or health of a pregnant woman or performed to terminate a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest. The scope of those exceptions was a point of contention during the campaign.A ban without rape, incest and health exceptions passed the 2006 Legislature. Gov. Mike Rounds signed it into law, but opponents circulated petitions to place it on the general election ballot where it failed. Abortion foes in South Dakota responded to that defeat by crafting Initiate Measure 11 and including the exceptions.
This year’s result, along with the outcome in 2006, likely ends any hope of making South Dakota the flagship state for anti-choice activism.