Last year the residents of South Dakota voted down a ban on all abortions, 54 to 46. Many of the voters stated that they voted against the ban only because it lacked exceptions in the cases of rape and incest. This year a new bill was introduced that had those exceptions and an exception for the health of the woman. If passed then a woman would have to report the rape or incest to the police and include the name and address of the perpatrator, or a good description. DNA samples would also be taken from the aborted fetus. In the case of the health of the mother two doctors would have to agree that the abortion was neccessary, including one who was uninvolved in the procedure. Besides legislation concerning a ban there were also attempts to pass bills that would further restrict and interfer with a woman's reproductive rights. For instance, there was a bill that would require doctors to offer their patients a chance to look at a sonogram before having an abortion. If the woman declined she would have to sign a piece of paper proving that she had been given the opportunity. None of the bills even made it to the governor this year; they were killed in committees or didn't pass the senate.
However, whether or not abortion is banned here in South Dakota is largely symbolic; women still do not have any access.
There is only one clinic in South Dakota and it is in Sioux Falls, the southwestern corner of the state. This clinic is only open one day a week and the doctors are flown in from Minneapolis because no doctor in South Dakota will perform the procedure. In the six states bordering South Dakota there are 23 clinics, giving this expansive seven state region a total of 24. This is more than five times less than the number of clinics California, three times less than Florida, and equal to the number of clinics in the state of Washington.
This letter is being written to you from Rapid City, SD. Rapid City is the second largest city in South Dakota and at the opposite end of the state from Sioux Falls. It is from here that women must travel five hours to Sioux Falls, seven and a half hours to Denver, or eight hours to Omaha. It is also from here that collectives are forming and working together to help these women gain the resources they need. Yesterday we provided enough support to get a woman to Omaha because she could have a weekend appointment there. We were given less than twenty-four hours to act but we met her needs and funded her transportation and shelter costs. No one knows how many more will need our help tommorow or the next day but we need your help in order to do it.
P.O Box 3375
Rapid City, SD 57701
ULF (at) uterusliberationfront.org
sd_womens_health_fund (at) yahoo.com