SOUTH DAKOTA (LifeSiteNews) — As activists promote a petition to codify a “right” to abortion in South Dakota’s constitution ahead of the November 2024 election, pro-life politicians and citizens are calling out its supporters for spreading false information about the proposal.
The petition, launched by left-wing pro-abortion group “Dakotans for Health,” calls for an amendment to the state constitution to allow abortion up to birth when an abortionist deems an abortion “necessary” for the mother’s “life or health,” including for emotional or mental issues.
The proposed amendment would also eliminate safety measures, such as the requirement that a licensed medical professional commits the abortion, and undermine parental rights by not mandating parental notice if a minor has an abortion.
Dakotans for Health is asking the legislature to put the proposed amendment on the ballot during the November 2024 general election. If approved and passed, the amendment would be a drastic change from the state’s current abortion laws, which prohibit killing the unborn throughout pregnancy, with an exception for when medical opinion deems it “necessary” to save the mother’s life. This trigger law went into effect following the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
The petition requires that 35,000 signatures be gathered by May 7, 2024, to put the proposal on the ballot next fall. Representatives of Dakotans for Health have been recruiting signers since November 2022, hoping to collect a total of 60,000 signatures. Though the amendment would remove practically all regulations on murdering the unborn if passed, abortion supporters have failed to properly present the reality of the doors that the amendment would open.
Pro-life GOP lawmaker calls out ‘blatant lie’ of abortion activists
While pro-abortion lobbyists push to legalize abortion up to birth in South Dakota, Republican Rep. Jon Hansen is fighting to keep protections for the unborn the law of the land.
“Proponents of the radical abortion-up-to-nine-months amendment have been deceptive and dishonest about the amendment’s language, saying it will only make abortion legal during the first trimester,” Hansen told LifeSiteNews via email. “But this is a blatant lie.”
He further explained that amendment supporters “have also used signs calling this petition ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family,’ coaxing countless South Dakotans, even pastors, into signing it.” Those circulating the petition have managed to break the law “in several ways,” which had led to them being “reprimanded” by Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley.
In a letter addressed to Richard Weiland, founder of Dakotans for Health and sponsor of the petition, Jackley informed the group that he was “making you aware of the complaints” lodged against them, “provid[ing] you an opportunity to address them in order to avoid or lessen potential challenges during the petition certification process.”
According to the October 31 letter, a copy of which was shared with LifeSiteNews, “video and photographic evidence purporting to show unattended petitions” was sent to Jackley’s office. Per state law, petition circulations are required “to sign a verification attesting among other items that the circulator personally circulated the petition.”
Additionally, evidence has been presented to suggest that “petition signatories may be signing more than once,” which amounts to a criminal offense because the petition is for a constitutional amendment. The last piece of evidence against the pro-abortion group is the issue of “providing misinformation to the public.”
Specifically, this misinformation is in the form of presenting the amendment as one that would legalize abortion in the first trimester but not necessarily in the second and third trimesters. Jackley concluded the letter by reiterating its purpose “to encourage you as the sponsor to work with circulators to comply with requirements of South Dakota law […] and avoid or limit allegations that petition signatories are being misled.”
Hansen, alongside pro-life advocate Leslee Unruh, has been working through the Life Defense Fund “to educate South Dakotans since August 2022.” The group’s work has been primarily focused on “our volunteers passing out our flyers next to petition circulators to ensure the public receives the truth about the amendment before signing the petition.”
Hansen and Unruh have also “been attending speaking engagements across the state” for the same educational purpose.
“Pro-life citizens, pastors and politicians must fight for life by informing every South Dakotan about the truth of this radical amendment petition and encourage people not to sign it. Simply put, we need an unstoppable force of volunteers, funds and momentum if we’re going to protect women in our state. We cannot let South Dakota follow Ohio’s footsteps.”
The pro-life legislator made the comments immediately after Ohio voters passed a radical amendment legalizing abortion in all three trimesters, including up to birth in certain broad cases for the mother’s alleged mental or physical strain.
More information about the work of the Life Defense Fund and details on how to support its mission can be found here.