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 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.”

News Politics

Democratic Party Platform: Repeal Bans on Federal Funding for Abortion Care

Ally Boguhn

When asked this month about the platform’s opposition to Hyde, Hillary Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said that he had not “been informed of that” change to the platform though he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde Amendment.”

Democrats voted on their party platform Monday, codifying for the first time the party’s stated commitment to repealing restrictions on federal funding for abortion care.

The platform includes a call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, an appropriations ban on federal funding for abortion reimplemented on a yearly basis. The amendment disproportionately affects people of color and those with low incomes.

“We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured,” states the Democratic Party platform. “We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.”

The platform also calls for an end to the Helms Amendment, which ensures that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.”

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Though Helms allows funding for abortion care in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, the Obama administration has failed to enforce those guarantees.

Despite the platform’s opposition to the restrictions on abortion care funding, it makes no mention of how the anti-choice measures would be rolled back.

Both presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have promised to address Hyde and Helms if elected. Clinton has said she would “fix the Helms Amendment.”

Speaking at the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum in January, Clinton said that the Hyde Amendment “is just hard to justify because … certainly the full range of reproductive health rights that women should have includes access to safe and legal abortion.” In 2008, Clinton’s campaign told Rewire that she “does not support the Hyde amendment.”

When asked this month about the platform’s opposition to Hyde, Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said in an interview with the Weekly Standard that he had not “been informed of that” change to the platform though he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

“The Hyde amendment and Helms amendment have prevented countless low-income women from being able to make their own decisions about health, family, and future,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, addressing an early draft of the platform. “These amendments have ensured that a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion is a right that’s easier to access if you have the resources to afford it. That’s wrong and stands directly in contrast with the Democratic Party’s principles, and we applaud the Party for reaffirming this in the platform.”