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Codify Roe v. Wade: Petition Drive Starts Saturday in Sioux Falls!

O.K., defenders of reproductive rights: after months of demonstrations in the streets of Sioux Falls and Rapid City, it’s time for some real, practical action to restore women’s equality in South Dakota.

Dakotans for Health, FB event banner, retrieved 2022.10.31.
Dakotans for Health, FB event banner, retrieved 2022.10.31.

Dakotans for Health is launching its campaign to codify Roe v. Wade in the South Dakota Constitution on Saturday, November 5. At 10 a.m. at the Icon Lounge, 402 North Main Street in Sioux Falls, Dakotans for Health will begin circulating its petition for a constitutional amendment to reëstablish the constitutional right to abortion that the Alito Court tossed the state-legislative wolves last June. Any registered South Dakota voter may sign this petition, the effect of which will be to place this constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot. Any adult South Dakotan can pick up copies of the petition and circulator handouts so they themselves can collect signatures to support this noble cause.

Sponsors of initiated amendments currently have one year—from November 5, 2022, to November 6, 2023—to collect 33,922 voter signatures to qualify their amendments for the 2024 ballot. The signature total will change based on voter turnout in this year’s general election—Article 23 Section 1 of the South Dakota Constitution requires signatures “equal in number to at least ten percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election.” The November 6 submission deadline could change if the Eighth Circuit sees the error of South Dakota’s initiative-suppressing ways (hear the October 19 arguments before the Eighth Circuit on that issue here!).

Dakotans for Health is taking no chances: the sponsors of the Roe amendment are planning to collect 60,000 signatures by July 1, 2023. That’s an ambitious schedule; if achieved, it would allow Dakotans for Health to complete its petition drive before any other potential initiative circulators hit the streets with their petitions, meaning D4H would not be competing with other campaigns for circulators and attention on the street.

Of course, Dakotans for Health may be competing with Representative Jon Hansen and other theocrats who are rallying their troops to come harass circulators on the street and shout away voters who want to put their signatures behind women’s rights. Saturday’s petition launch will be our first opportunity to see how hard the misogynists for Jesus will try to sabotage the petition drive. It will also be our first opportunity to see if the energy we’ve seen at the anti-Dobbs protests can translate into practical political action.


  1. P. Aitch 2022-10-31

    Who reading this blog disagrees with Cory on the subject of codifying Roe v. Wade in the South Dakota Constitution?

  2. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-10-31

    I frankly do not have the courage to carry this petition door-to-door in Hot Springs or Fall River County. Merely having Biden/Harris 2020 bumper stickers on my beater Toyota Tundra is dangerous enough, given the deranged Trumpsters still pissed about 2020.
    Upon second thought, I should contact any local Democrat organization that hasn’t been forced underground into the catacombs and try to help it.

  3. Ryan 2022-10-31

    p aitch – i disagree with cory regarding codifying roe, but probably not for the reasons you do. If SD tried to codify roe, it would be challenged by some hick in court and it would be struck down for covering more than one single subject.

    conversely, i would support a simple constitutional amendment that says no state or local law may prohibit an abortion performed by a licensed medical professional in this state at the request of the pregnant person.

  4. P. Aitch 2022-10-31

    @RyanP – I don’t disagree. I fully agree with codifying Roe. I’m trying to “smoke” out those who’ll remain nameless. But, I certainly do know who they are. By being goaded and dared into speaking up, people with this mindset are more likely to remain silent. And that’s a good thing.

  5. grudznick 2022-10-31

    grudznick is FOR codifying Roe, Ms. P.h.

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-10-31

    It’s a great move. It should be done and will be wherever possible. I really don’t think the majority of South Dakota’s young women want Jon Hansen to continue stripping them of their rights. He doesn’t sing that well. Although he could sing Barefoot and Pregnant in Dell Rapid for his encore. Just ring me up Jon and I’ll let you have it.

  7. Francis Schaffer 2022-10-31

    Does making health decisions for another person require a durable power of attorney? Is it also possibly practicing medicine without a license? It seems the current law puts some in violation of other laws.

  8. All Mammal 2022-10-31

    I’m down to door-to-door it. When moms ask you why you must, they hate when you respond, “Eh, gotta keep it interesting.”

  9. Ryan 2022-10-31

    francis, do you genuinely think a healthcare power of attorney means the named agent should perform the medical services themselves? silly

  10. CK 2022-11-01

    Let’s Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. P Meyer 2022-11-01

    Thank God! People of South Dakota must unite to protect Women’s Rights! It’s time to keep women’s health decisions between them and their healthcare persons and not have the hands of the politicos up their bottoms! Healthcare is a personal issue… where has the right to privacy gone? Rod v Wade and protecting women’s healthcare covers far more life issues than just abortion rights.
    Further, the protection of all medical personnel should be made clear in any restitution of the Codifying process. Backstreet abortions are a travesty and put any woman in harm’s way.

  12. WillyNilly 2022-11-01

    I am so offended by the Thune campaign showing Thune’s daughters and granddaughters in commercials. Anytime it shows up during one of my TV watching moments I find myself asking him the questions no one in the media ever asks him. The man hasn’t done a thing to support women and children and has the nerve to package himself up as a ‘girl dad’. Heaven help those tiny beings with a uterus if they should ever need an abortion or if they find they are transgender. They’ll get no help and no sensitivity from ‘papa’. I also wonder just what he thinks the Republicans are ‘ready’ for. The only thing they have genuine expertise in doing is blocking helpful legislation and sucking up to Trump. Not much to base governing on….

  13. Francis Schaffer 2022-11-02

    No Ryan i don’t.

  14. Paul 2022-12-07

    Why not petition for a woman’s right to choose beyond the first trimester? Is this consistent with petitions in other states?

  15. Paul 2022-12-07

    Concerned that this petition will lead only to a short-term solution. Perhaps we should follow VT, CA, and NY, who have chosen to fight to make abortion a constitutional right because: 1) You can pass a bill that codifies abortion rights, but if a future election changes the political makeup of the legislature and who’s in the governor’s office, then they could repeal the statute that has codified abortion rights, and 2.) Courts can “invalidate” a state law, but not a constitutional amendment because they are bound by that document.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-07

    Check that, Paul, on two counts: the D4H petition to codify Roe v. Wade is a constitutional amendment. Also, courts can invalidate initiated amendments, as they did with Amendment A in 2021.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-07

    The D4H petition is consistent with Roe v. Wade. The amendment does exactly what the sponsors say: restore the status quo ante Dobbs.

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