Battle in South Dakota Over Abortion Ban

Amie Newman

The battle over the abortion ban in South Dakota continues. The opposition campaign released a television ad today featuring a real-life family who desperately needed a procedure. How many women could have already been helped with the money spent on the campaign pushing the initiative in 2004 and 2008?

Once again South Dakotans will be voting on a measure, Proposition 11 (PDF), to essentially outlaw abortions in their state. In many ways, it’s besides the point. With only one abortion clinic in the entire state, a clinic that flies in physicians from other areas to perform the procedures, abortion is already inaccessible for many.

According to the Washington Post, the measure would stop approximately 700 abortions per year but a physician in Rapid City who cares for women with high-risk pregnancies says that the measure "would amount to a total ban."

Voters already voted down a similar initiative four years ago but the same coalition is trying again. The campaign to pass the proposition, Vote Yes for Life, is attempting to raise enough funds to air a television ad featuring their stalwart representative, Dr. Bernard Nathanson. Nathanson is a former pro-choice activist who was on the board of NARAL, a man who switched camps later on in his career (he is over 80 years old now). Nathanson is a tried and true anti-choice activist "employed" by many anti-choice campaigns as their voice of the movement. 

South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families is running the opposition campaign – as they did in 2004, successfully. They have just released their new television ad that will be running in South Dakota, featuring a real-life family, The Campbells were faced with the heart-wrenching decision over whether or not to have an abortion – a procedure that under Proposition 11, would be outlawed. According to an email from the SD Campaign for Healthy Families:

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Two years ago, Tiffany Campbell was like most expectant mothers — happy and healthy and excited to deliver the twins she was carrying.

But then her joy turned into anguish. Tiffany and her husband learned that the twins were sharing only one beating heart. If she carried both to term, neither would survive.

It makes you wonder how much money is being spent on the campaigning, doesn’t it? If the Yes For Life campaign had a real interest in preventing abortions – and this measure would realistically prevent 700 abortions/year – wouldn’t a better use of their fundraising be for pregnancy prevention programs? Access to quality pre-natal care for women? Family planning? Subsidies for contraception for those who need it? Abortions in the first trimester (over 90% of all abortions) cost between $450-$600. Multiply those numbers by 700 and you get about $35,000-$42,000/year. Don’t you wonder how much money the Yes for Life campaign has already spent in 2004 and now in 2008 on trying to convince voters that this ban will prevent abortions? How many women could already have been helped by quality health care services funded with the money raised for both campaigns? 

Here is the television ad being run currently by South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and the ad that Yes For Life is trying to raise enough money to run is below it:

Yes For Life ad:

News Abortion

How Long Does It Take to Receive Abortion Care in the United States?

Nicole Knight

The national findings come amid state-level research in Texas indicating that its abortion restrictions forced patients to drive farther and spend more to end their pregnancies.

The first nationwide study exploring the average wait time between an abortion care appointment and the procedure found most patients are waiting one week.

Seventy-six percent of patients were able to access abortion care within 7.6 days of making an appointment, with 7 percent of patients reporting delays of more than two weeks between setting an appointment and having the procedure.

In cases where care was delayed more than 14 days, patients cited three main factors: personal challenges, such as losing a job or falling behind on rent; needing a second-trimester procedure, which is less available than earlier abortion services; or living in a state with a mandatory waiting period.

The study, “Time to Appointment and Delays in Accessing Care Among U.S. Abortion Patients,” was published online Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute.

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The national findings come amid state-level research in Texas indicating that its abortion restrictions forced patients to drive farther and spend more to end their pregnancies. A recent Rewire analysis found states bordering Texas had reported a surge in the number of out-of-state patients seeking abortion care.

“What we tend to hear about are the two-week or longer cases, or the women who can’t get in [for an appointment] because the wait is long and they’re beyond the gestational stage,” said Rachel K. Jones, lead author and principal research scientist with the Guttmacher Institute.

“So this is a little bit of a reality check,” she told Rewire in a phone interview. “For the women who do make it to a facility, providers are doing a good job of accommodating these women.”

Jones said the survey was the first asking patients about the time lapse between an appointment and procedure, so it’s impossible to gauge whether wait times have risen or fallen. The findings suggest that eliminating state-mandated waiting periods would permit patients to obtain abortion care sooner, Jones said.

Patients in 87 U.S. abortion facilities took the surveys between April 2014 and June 2015. Patients answered various questions, including how far they had traveled, why they chose the facility, and how long ago they’d called to make their appointment.

The study doesn’t capture those who might want abortion care, but didn’t make it to a clinic.

“If women [weren’t] able to get to a facility because there are too few of them or they’re too far way, then they’re not going to be in our study,” Jones said.

Fifty-four percent of respondents came from states without a forced abortion care waiting period. Twenty-two percent were from states with mandatory waits, and 24 percent lived in states with both a mandatory waiting period and forced counseling—common policies pushed by Republican-held state legislatures.

Most respondents lived at or below the poverty level, had experienced at least one personal challenge, such as a job loss in the past year, and had one or more children. Ninety percent were in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 46 percent paid cash for the procedure.

The findings echo research indicating that three quarters of abortion patients live below or around the poverty line, and 53 percent pay out of pocket for abortion care, likely causing further delays.

Jones noted that delays—such as needing to raise money—can push patients later into pregnancy, which further increases the cost and eliminates medication abortion, an early-stage option.

Recent research on Utah’s 72-hour forced waiting period showed the GOP-backed law didn’t dissuade the vast majority of patients, but made abortion care more costly and difficult to obtain.

News Politics

Tim Kaine Changes Position on Federal Funding for Abortion Care

Ally Boguhn

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back the Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate, has promised to stand with nominee Hillary Clinton in opposing the Hyde Amendment, a ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that Kaine “has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment,” according to the network’s transcript.

“Voters can be 100 percent confident that Tim Kaine is going to fight to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mook said.

The commitment to opposing Hyde was “made privately,” Clinton spokesperson Jesse Ferguson later clarified to CNN’s Edward Mejia Davis.

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Kaine’s stated support for ending the federal ban on abortion funding is a reversal on the issue for the Virginia senator. Kaine this month told the Weekly Standard  that he had not “been informed” that this year’s Democratic Party platform included a call for repealing the Hyde Amendment. He said he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

Repealing the Hyde Amendment has been an issue for Democrats on the campaign trail this election cycle. Speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire in January, Clinton denounced Hyde, noting that it made it “harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.”

Clinton called the federal ban on abortion funding “hard to justify” when asked about it later that month at the Brown and Black Presidential Forum, adding that “the full range of reproductive health rights that women should have includes access to safe and legal abortion.”

Clinton’s campaign told Rewire during her 2008 run for president that she “does not support the Hyde amendment.”

The Democratic Party on Monday codified its commitment to opposing Hyde, as well as the Helms Amendment’s ban on foreign assistance funds being used for abortion care. 

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back Hyde’s ban on federal funding for abortion care.

When asked about whether the president supported the repeal of Hyde during the White House press briefing Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said he did not “believe we have changed our position on the Hyde Amendment.”

When pushed by a reporter to address if the administration is “not necessarily on board” with the Democratic platform’s call to repeal Hyde, Schultz said that the administration has “a longstanding view on this and I don’t have any changes in our position to announce today.”

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