Press "Enter" to skip to content

Talk About the Right to Abortion and Sign a Petition to Restore It!

Libby Skarin of the ACLU urges South Dakotans to talk about abortion:

…if we want to make it clear that the majority of South Dakotans support abortion access, that’s got to change. With abortion access now left to the political process, those of us who care about reproductive freedom have to get engaged.

The fact that people feel like they can’t talk about abortion means the small number of anti-abortion activists get to define it however suits them best. We can’t let politicians and anti-abortion activists twist the narrative about this very common, very safe medical procedure any longer.

That means we have to start talking. We have to shake the stigma that abortion is bad, shameful or wrong. We have to change the narrative around abortion and reassure people that abortion is essential health care that people across our state need — regardless of their political affiliation, their income, their race or their faith.

And there’s no better time to start talking than now [Libby Skarin, “Let’s Talk About Abortion. A Simple Conversation Can Be a Catalyst for the Change That a Majority of South Dakotans Want,” South Dakota Standard, 2022.12.26].

Of course, if the aim of that conversation is to restore and protect reproductive freedom in South Dakota, why simply talk? Why not have that conversation while holding a petition to codify Roe v. Wade and collect signatures to put on the 2024 ballot a constitutional amendment to reëstablish South Dakota women’s right to control their pregnancies?

Ballot question committee Dakotans for Health has been leading that practical conversation over petitions at meetings and on chilly sidewalks since the beginning of November. Putting abortion on the 2024 ballot would invite every voter to a profoundly meaningful election-year conversation and give them a chance to decide the issue at the ballot box.

Everyone deserves the dignity and power to decide for themselves if, when, and how to have a child. Those who disagree are counting on our silence. We cannot afford to stay quiet when our rights and our freedoms are on the line, and we won’t [Skarin, 2022.12.26].

Strangely, in this essay, Skarin remains silent about the circulating petition and ballot measure that seeks to protect exactly that dignity and power. But I’m glad to correct that omission: yes, by all means, have that conversation about women’s fundamental rights and South Dakota’s oppression thereof, but take advantage of the opportunity to translate that conversation into practical action by signing, circulating, and promoting the petition to call a statewide vote on the right to abortion.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-12-27 06:46

    That women in South Dakota are chattel for the religion industry is lost on no one.

  2. P. Aitch 2022-12-27 10:53

    Do Noem’s MAGA’s have access to the names on the petition? MAGA protocol includes harassing and violence against people who don’t adhere to their restrictive politics.

  3. bearcreekbat 2022-12-27 11:55

    My comment on the Standard was:

    Not only are people unwilling to talk about abortion in SD, they are also unwilling to talk about the SD maximum criminal penalty the State can now impose if someone is caught participating in an unauthorized abortion, including the woman that terminates a pregnancy – the death sentence. The Standard was brave enough to publish two pieces by SD lawyers describing this potential penalty, one by Jay Schultz and the other by Jay Davis. The response: crickets.

    Cory has also been brave enough to post articles and comments regarding this barbaric aspect of SD criminal law. Just as on the Standard, however, the response on DFP has been mostly the same: crickets.

    I guess the point is that regardless of the penalty, whether a petty offense with a $2 fine, a misdemeanor, a class 5 felony, mandatory life imprisonment, or the death penalty, the State has no business criminalizing a woman’s choice to defend her own body against the unwanted use or presence of another person or unwanted use and temporary appropriation by any other potential life form regardless of labels. Perhaps the matter of the penalty, no matter how minor or severe, cannot be allowed to overshadow the implications of State enforced subjugation of women.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-12-27 12:10

    P. Aitch, That’s not a very big concern in my opinion. The petitions, once filed, would be public documents, so, yes, anyone can obtain them. During the nuclear waste vote petition drive, some of our petition circulators and signers were harassed following the submission of petitions. We made that harassment public. So, the pro-dump people suffered some negative publicity over that. We drafted up a bill for the Legislature to consider protecting people from such harassment, but we were told existing law would be adequate to deal with such issues. I suppose you could draft up a bill and see if it would be appropriate now.

    I circulated petitions all during the 1980s-1990s and never heard of another harassment attempt. There was some attempt to disrupt circulators during collection of the signatures on initiative petitions to reign in the payday loan industry. Thee are always yahoos out there, but you can’t give up your rights to petition for redress of grievances. Then the fascists win and democracy loses.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-12-27 12:39

    In my informed opinion, the RCC will be first in line to see who’s not following their SD version of the Catholic Church. Also, in my observations, a Catholic Church diocese without a majority Hispanic element turns into a racially bigoted and anti-woman entity.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-12-27 13:00

    Women who want to protect their right to medical treatment should simply flee South Dakota as soon as it’s possible because their bodies are targets for the far white wing and nothing more.

  7. All Mammal 2022-12-27 13:05

    Unfortunately, Mr. Pay- women are already being threatened by the very scabs who are going to be in Pierre, writing new fascist laws. But trust and believe, women will not let those threats from the Hitler Youth guys who are in the basement playing belly swords with one another deter our goal. In fact, I wish a Nazi would. They will be hurtin units if I hear of or experience any petition circulator being mistreated. If those self-righteous freaks want to get hairy, I will, and advise others to as well, march straight down to the WAVI (Women Against Violence Inc) office and get an immediate protection order and then what will happen is
    1) we will be right back to freely exercise our Constitutional rights to petition for the honor of women, sans fear of harm.
    And 2) the 2nd amendment-loving abusers will be stripped of their right to bear arms due to a protection order’s decree.
    And my favorite, 3) Violating the order will incur a felony charge and automatic detainment and booking into county lockup.
    Women are to be respected. No more or less than men. We don’t ask for extra, or undeserved treatment; nothing we have not earned. We simply fight everyday for equal protections and opportunities and rights…And maybe a door held open once in awhile. They’re heavy and our arms always seem to be burdened with groceries or children or other essentials.
    Thanks to those who still catch the door for a gal. It is so nice(: And an enormous thank you to those who stand up for women and girls by signing, circulating, writing, speaking, and voting for the right to privacy and healthcare and abortion.

  8. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-27 13:10

    I did not want to comment on this subject again, but I think it is worth
    noting that a great many women in SD believe that a baby is to be treasured
    and nurtured, not discarded. If a person, either male or female, does not want
    the responsibility of raising a child they should not engage in sexual activity.
    And for heavens sakes, do not have sex with someone you would not
    want to raise a child with.
    In my mind, the phrase “reproductive freedom” could fairly easily be
    interchanged with “freedom from responsibility”.

  9. larry kurtz 2022-12-27 13:13

    8. A blastocyst is no more an unborn child than it is an unborn grandparent.

  10. All Mammal 2022-12-27 13:30

    I totally get it Mr. Arndt. I agree we should be picky about our partners because pregnancy can always result from intercourse. Sometimes by nothing less of a miracle.

    Please consider the common occurrence of rape. 4,000 cases of child sexual abuse in SD every year. (I left out the exclamation point because I am not yelling at you. I am sincere as can be and striving for mutual understanding.)

    Also, pretty please consider the endless possibilities of complications and medical adversities that can result from giving labor. It is not men who give their entire lives to bring life into the world. It is impossible for man to relate.

    I respectfully plead with you, Mr. A, and all others to also consider the choice we, as fellow free-willed people have: we can choose to trust Government. Or, we can choose to trust Women. You have to choose one. Who will you pick to trust? Please choose to trust women to decide for their own body. Please do not choose government to decide for us.

  11. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-27 13:56

    I have said in previous postings that I would support abortion in the case of
    rape, incest, or if the life of the mother were in danger. If abortions were limited
    to those occasions there would be far fewer abortions.

    And if people would fallow the guidelines I laid out, there would be very
    few abortions indeed. It comes down to living responsibly. The desire for sex without
    consequences is understandable but unrealistic.

  12. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-27 13:58

    follow, sorry

  13. All Mammal 2022-12-27 14:14

    Gotcha. Let us first focus on what we are doing about the 4,000 children in SD being sexually abused year after year.
    If we put the energy into curing that sickness, we will be too busy to worry about the private conversations in women’s doctor’s offices.
    We have a responsibility to help actual kids and punish actual child rapists.
    Where we focus our energy and resources on shaming women is sinful when there are that many scared, exploited and raped children in our state.
    I wonder if there is a correlation with fanaticism against abortion and the flourishing culture of rape and use of children by many SD men for sexual gratification….

  14. larry kurtz 2022-12-27 14:26

    One fifth of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — or as some call it an act of the creator but when a person chooses to terminate a pregnancy the creator doesn’t condone that decision? How does that work?

  15. Edwin Arndt 2022-12-27 16:22

    I don’t know anything about the study or who did it.
    Since I have done no study or seen any other study
    on this subject I would have to take the study you refer
    to at its word. I do not want to do anything that promotes
    irresponsible sexual relations. For example, a girl, or boy,
    uses some kind of contraceptive and then the contraceptive
    fails. The easy way out is to blame the contraceptive. But
    that is not the reality. The people having sex have got
    to consider that they may be procreating and take responsibility.
    My personal belief is that we as a society have tried to make
    sex way to cheap.

  16. P. Aitch 2022-12-27 16:40

    Edwin – The reality is that teenagers are going to have sex whether it’s protected or not. They don’t take advice from people our age so making the risk of pregnancy lower is the educated thing to do. It wasn’t a study. For ten years in Colorado teenage females could get an IUD inserted at their normal gynecological examination and it was up to the girl if she wanted to tell her parents or not. Teenage pregnancy declined by 50%.

    A private donor’s investment in the Colorado state health department’s family planning program allowed us to train health care providers, support family planning clinics and remove the financial barriers to women choosing the safest, most effective form of contraception.
    This initiative empowered thousands of Colorado women to choose when and whether to start a family.
    Thanks in large part to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative:
    Teen birth rate was nearly cut in half.
    Teen abortion rate was nearly cut in half.
    Births to women without a high school education fell 38 percent.
    Second and higher order births to teens were cut by 57 percent.
    Birth rate among young women ages 20-24 was cut by 20 percent.
    Average age of first birth increased by 1.2 years among all women.
    Rapid repeat births declined by 12 percent among all women.
    Costs avoided: $66.1-$69.6 million.

  17. Mark Anderson 2022-12-27 18:26

    Get your abortion pill from many sources all available at the touch of your fingers. Don’t bother with the debate, it’s your choice. Of course, then vote the way you choose.

  18. P. Aitch 2022-12-27 19:37

    I know, Mark. Banning abortion in a state when plenty of other states haves full women’s rights is an exercise in nothing but pig headedness.
    But, living on the wrong side of history is their fateful choice, I suppose. States Rights is fine with we liberal states. Eventually we’ll stop sending these stubborn states money and liberals will have a 25% or more gross income increase.

  19. Arlo Blundt 2022-12-27 19:48

    All Mammal’s point is well taken. South Dakotans need to invest their personnel and fiscal resources into taking better care of the existing children in the state and improving those children’s chances in life. At that point, those children will be empowered to make wiser decisions regarding family planning. There are now fewer children in the state than there have ever been….families are smaller which is a reflection of economic reality. Those children growing up in the state have big challenges ahead.

  20. Valerie Johnson 2022-12-28 06:11

    And when we have that conversation, isn’t it good to listen and hear all sides?
    “Most of the voters (45.2%) said they were in favor of the state law that bans abortion in all cases except those that are necessary to preserve the life of the mother.” The majority of South Dakotans do not support abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy.
    Anti-abortionists don’t define abortion; abortion is defined in law. Our SD legal definition: “Abortion,” the intentional termination of the life of a human being in the uterus.”
    A miscarriage doesn’t fall under this definition as it’s not intentional. The removal of an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t fall under this definition as the intent is not to terminate the unborn human but to save the life of the mother.
    Let’s keep the conversation real.
    Decline to sign.

  21. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-12-28 19:07

    So, how may I sign this petition in Hot Springs, SD? The “locals” are still threatening me because I’ve Biden/Harris 2020 bumper stickers. I’m as serious as a heart attack.

  22. Bob Newland 2022-12-28 19:31

    In accordance with Bonnie F, I too would like to know how to sign in Hot Springs SD. I would even circulate the petition, if I knew how how apply.

  23. All Mammal 2022-12-28 20:01

    Bossman- I applied to circulate on the Dakotans4Health webpage. I haven’t gotten any response yet. There was only one location in Sioux Falls listed to sign the petition. If I’m able to get my hands on some sig sheets, I will make a special trip to Hot Springs to see a man about a horse.

  24. Dicta 2022-12-28 20:30

    Quick question, All Mammals
    If I ship off keys do you ship Grand Pianos?
    Do you have a sawed off shotgun
    With your hand on the pump?
    Are you sippin’ on a forty;
    Or smokin’ on a blunt?
    Do we bust our guns if you and me gettin’ jumped?
    La, la, la, la
    La, la, la, la?

  25. All Mammal 2022-12-28 21:09

    My Dicta, My Dicta- As a matter of fact, I usually do. I believe the correct response is, ‘La la la la la la la laaaa!! Me and Meth didn’t jump. La la la la la la la laaaa! Yeah, right. My bear hugs air tight. Goin up against me? A fair fight. Haters don’t touch, weigh us both up, now my neighbors doped up. Got the cable hooked up, all channels. Lift my shirt…..’ its been a minute but that’s what came out.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-29 04:56

    Valerie, your discouragement of South Dakotans from signing the petition and putting the right to control one’s own pregnancy to a statewide vote does not follow from your statements.

    The problem for women facing miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies is that doctors recognize that the state could interpret the definition of abortion to impact the care they are providing, Sure, the hospitals’ lawyers could argue that the procedures didn’t constitute an abortion or were to save the mother’s life, but they know there is legal peril and thus hesitate to provide care, putting women in more danger.

    Sign the petition, have the conversation… and then do the right thing for doctors and women and restore women’s right to control their pregnancies.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-29 04:57

    All Mammal, thank you for volunteering! Keep hitting that contact page. I would think the sponsors would get back to you pronto!

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-29 05:01

    Bob, Bonnie, All Mammal, in addition to the online sign-up form, D4H also lists this contact phone number: 605-610-8146. See if that gets you a response!

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-29 05:03

    Edwin, sex without consequences doesn’t seem to fall within the proper scope of government oversight.

  30. e platypus onion 2022-12-29 08:27

    More women opposed abortion law than men. Most support for the law came from men above the age of 65, not the likeliest of people to have abortions. Plus, if they had polled the entire state it would be a small sample size. And lastly, to find any true liberal voters in an embarrassingly red state, you’d have to turn over rocks and look under hay bales. (no offense meant to my liberal bros and sisters)

  31. All Mammal 2022-12-29 12:48

    Just about all set to hit the concrete, Mr. H. Thanks. The men and women of SD will show our voices in Pierre what happens when they decide to go rogue and ignore their bosses. Thank heavens we are able to petition for our ownselves. And thanks for all the Democracy loving voters who jump at signing every petition just because they believe in putting it to a vote on the ballot. Sign that thing for all those in the streets fighting to the death right now for the freedom to have that say. #Istandwithmyanmar #Istandwithukraine #bringourgirlshome

  32. P. Aitch 2023-01-02 10:42

    At essence the question is; “When does life begin?”
    In biological terms, when is an organism an organism?
    Or philosophically, what makes a human a person?
    And spiritually, when does a human being have a soul?
    Humans have wrestled with the question of when life begins across time and cultures.
    This question also pushes past the limits of law and science and gets to the heart of human experience.

  33. P. Aitch 2023-01-03 17:41

    Abortion pills can soon be purchased at local U.S. pharmacies with a prescription, the F.D.A. said, a move that could greatly expand access. – NYTimes

  34. All Mammal 2023-01-14 13:11

    I may have come up with a way to identify Koskan-like creeps. The haters responding to my CL ad ranting about spilled baby blood and f Roe and f me all appear to be republican conmen with crispy shirts and family portraits on display with a simple name search in Google. They have an exact formula to fool the community with their financial occupation and button-up plaid-clad brood. Every one so far are suspish.

Comments are closed.