One of the deciding factors behind Governor Dennis Daugaard’s agreement to sign the 72-hour mandatory wait period and anti-abortion counseling bill H.B. 1217 was that donors would be providing funding to defend the bill in court, saving the state the costs of defense.
The offer of private donors appears to be more than just a rhetorical promise. In the week after the passage H.B. 1217 and a few days following the signing of the bill into law, the “Life Protect Fund” donations jumped from the $14,500 on which it had been sitting for years to almost $29,000.
From a period of March 15th to March 25th, nearly 30 new donations poured into the account, adding almost $14,000. Many of these donations were small individual donations ranging from five or ten dollars a person or family, with a few one hundred or five hundred dollar donations sprinkled into the mix.
But there are some donations that can’t help but draw some attention. Five donors together put $11,000 into the account, responsible for a large portion of the new funds.
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Donating $1000 was Dr. Patricia Giebink, a practioner who used to perform abortions before “becoming a pro-life advocate.” Dr. Geibink was a part of Vote Yes For Life, one of the sponsors behind the 2008 total abortion ban that was rejected by the state’s voters.
But Dr. Giebink is one of the smaller large dollar donors. Contributing $2500 were Todd and Linda Broin, large funders of the Vote Yes for Life group that campaigned for the 2008 abortion ban ballot initiative. The Broins contributed over $100,000 to the campaign supporting the ban, making them the largest source of in-state financial support. Also donating $2500 was Robert and Miriam Broin, the heads of a faith-based charity that focuses on private grant-making.
Another $2500 donation comes from the Gerard Health Foundation, best known currently for funding the Lila Rose Foundation and their inaccurate attack videos attempting to discredit, defund and otherwise shut down Planned Parenthood. The Gerard Health Foundation provided a $125,000 matching grant to fund Lila Rose’s most recent work, proven to be yet another batch of inaccurately edited “sting” videos trying to prove Planned Parenthood somehow breaks laws.
And one final $2500 donation came from Carlton Beal Jr. and his wife, Lynda. “Carty” Beal, one of the partners in the oil firm BTA Oil, in Midland, Texas, has a family of oil partners and philanthropists. The family is active in giving campaign donations out during election cycles, primarily to Texas politicians. One exception to this local rule? The campaign of South Dakota Republican Joel Dykstra. Dykstra, of course, is another endorser of the “Vote Yes For Life” action group.
There are a few smaller donations that raise many of the same issues that legislators brought up at the passage of the bill. A one hundred dollar donation by Allen Unruh, founder of the Alpha Center, one of the pregnancy centers that stands to benefit financially from the bill shows that some supporters are basically investing in their own financial interests. And an anonymous $20.00 donation on the list provides a reminder that there is no actual disclosure rules or oversight over this fund. Donors can provide limitless amounts of money, and, if they provide that money in cash, do not even have to have their names listed.
“If someone sends in $100 cash with a note, or drops off a cash donation and asks that it be placed in the life protection sub fund, I deposit it. I have no way of knowing who the donor was,” said Paul Kinsman, Commissioner, Bureau of Administration.
Money dumped into a fund that has no rules, no disclosure, and so far is being stuffed by anti-abortion activists who would either benefit financially from the bill’s passage or have been actively involved in pushing previously unconstitutional and voter-rejected legislation? That’s who is paying for anti-abortion bills in South Dakota.