Abortion rights could be on South Dakota’s 2024 ballot

Proposed constitutional amendment would limit state’s ability to regulate abortion
Roughly 100 protestors from across the region gathered in Pierre for a two-day protest last...
Roughly 100 protestors from across the region gathered in Pierre for a two-day protest last month to make their opposition known to South Dakota's near total abortion ban.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 2:15 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A proposed amendment to the South Dakota Constitution would prohibit the state legislature from regulating abortion during the first trimester and severely limit involvement in later trimesters.

Only the woman would be able to make decisions about abortion in the first three months of a pregnancy.

In the second trimester, the state could regulate an abortion decision. However, according to the South Dakota attorney general explanation: “Any regulation of a pregnant woman’s abortion decision, or of an abortion, during the second trimester must be reasonably related to the physical health of the pregnant woman.”

Only in the third trimester would the state be allowed to prohibit abortions. Again, there is the exception where the abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman. That determination would have to be made by the woman’s physician, “according to the physician’s medical judgment.”

The AG draft statement on the proposed amendment states that “judicial or legislative clarification of the amendment may be necessary.”

If enough petition signatures are gathered, the proposed amendment would be on the November 2024 ballot. The petition must have signatures of registered voters equal to 10 percent of the total vote for governor in the last gubernatorial election. According to the Secretary of State website, that is 33,922 signatures.

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