Battle in South Dakota Over Abortion Ban

The battle over the abortion ban in South Dakota continues. The opposition campaign released a television ad today featuring a real-life family who desperately needed a procedure. How many women could have already been helped with the money spent on the campaign pushing the initiative in 2004 and 2008?

Once again South Dakotans will be voting on a measure, Proposition 11 (PDF), to essentially outlaw abortions in their state. In many ways, it’s besides the point. With only one abortion clinic in the entire state, a clinic that flies in physicians from other areas to perform the procedures, abortion is already inaccessible for many.

According to the Washington Post, the measure would stop approximately 700 abortions per year but a physician in Rapid City who cares for women with high-risk pregnancies says that the measure "would amount to a total ban."

Voters already voted down a similar initiative four years ago but the same coalition is trying again. The campaign to pass the proposition, Vote Yes for Life, is attempting to raise enough funds to air a television ad featuring their stalwart representative, Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Nathanson is a former pro-choice activist who was on the board of NARAL, a man who switched camps later on in his career (he is over 80 years old now). Nathanson is a tried and true anti-choice activist "employed" by many anti-choice campaigns as their voice of the movement. 

South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is running the opposition campaign – as they did in 2004, successfully. They have just released their new television ad that will be running in South Dakota, featuring a real-life family, The Campbells were faced with the heart-wrenching decision over whether or not to have an abortion – a procedure that under Proposition 11, would be outlawed. According to an email from the SD Campaign for Healthy Families:

Two years ago, Tiffany Campbell was like most expectant mothers — happy and healthy and excited to deliver the twins she was carrying.

But then her joy turned into anguish. Tiffany and her husband learned that the twins were sharing only one beating heart. If she carried both to term, neither would survive.

It makes you wonder how much money is being spent on the campaigning, doesn’t it? If the Yes For Life campaign had a real interest in preventing abortions – and this measure would realistically prevent 700 abortions/year – wouldn’t a better use of their fundraising be for pregnancy prevention programs? Access to quality pre-natal care for women? Family planning? Subsidies for contraception for those who need it? Abortions in the first trimester (over 90% of all abortions) cost between $450-$600. Multiply those numbers by 700 and you get about $35,000-$42,000/year. Don’t you wonder how much money the Yes for Life campaign has already spent in 2004 and now in 2008 on trying to convince voters that this ban will prevent abortions? How many women could already have been helped by quality health care services funded with the money raised for both campaigns? 

Here is the television ad being run currently by South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and the ad that Yes For Life is trying to raise enough money to run is below it:

Yes For Life ad: