The South Dakota Democratic Party supports restoring women’s reproductive freedom by codifying Roe v. Wade in the state constitution. Democratic delegates unanimously approved the following resolution to that effect at their convention in Fort Pierre two weeks ago:
Whereas: The Supreme Court has revoked people’s fundamental right to abortion via Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and triggered a near-total abortion ban in South Dakota;
Whereas: Roe v. Wade properly recognized and protected people’s autonomy and dignity, including their right to make their own decisions about pregnancy;
Whereas: The Dobbs’ ruling and South Dakota’s abortion ban deny people who can become pregnant their autonomy, dignity, and equality;
Whereas: South Dakota is a rural state, with limited access to healthcare on reservations and in small towns. Native American, rural, LGBTQ+, and other minority groups are most at risk of not receiving adequate healthcare, including comprehensive family planning resources;
Whereas: The voters of South Dakota considered and rejected two proposed abortion bans in 2006 and 2008 by a substantial margin; therefore
Be It Resolved: The South Dakota Democratic Party calls for restoring the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy by codifying Roe v. Wade in the South Dakota Constitution [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2022.07.22].
As the resolution notes, South Dakota’s enactment of its abortion ban last month is yet another sign that our Republican Governor and Republican legislators do not respect the will of the people, as expressed in two statewide votes in which 55%+ majorities rejected similar abortion bans. Contrary to their rhetoric about freedom and individual responsibility, South Dakota Republicans don’t think women or men are capable of making their own decisions, for themselves or for their state. South Dakota Democrats believe women can manage their own pregnancies and voters can govern their own state.
Ballot question committee Dakotans for Health is preparing an initiated constitutional amendment to write the Roe v. Wade standards for regulating abortion into the South Dakota Constitution—women are sole deciders in first trimester; government may regulate abortion in second trimester but only to protect women’s health; government may restrict or ban abortion in third trimester but must still permit abortion to protect women’s health. The attorney general is currently reviewing that proposal and preparing his explanation to accompany that initiative petition. Democrats who would like to put their resolution into action will be able to circulate this Roe v. Wade petition starting this November 5. Under current law, Dakotans for Health, Democrats, and anyone else who wants to help will have twelve months, until November 6, 2023, to collect enough signatures (plan on 50,000 to be safe) to put this amendment on the 2024 ballot and give South Dakotans their third chance to say, Yes, really, we want women, not government, controlling their own pregnancies.