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South Dakota abortion ban going on November ballot

[JURIST] South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson [official website] confirmed Monday that a law banning most abortions [PDF text], which was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor [JURIST reports] earlier this year, will appear on the November 2006 ballot as a question for voters [petition text, PDF]. The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which opposes the law, gathered over 37,000 signatures [JURIST report] in support of its petition, far more than the 16,728 required to force the referendum [SOS materials].

The South Dakota law would ban most abortions in the state, excluding only those necessary to save a woman's life. A physician convicted of performing an illegal abortion could be fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. The law was due to take effect July 1, but will now be put on hold pending voter approval. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco signed a similar abortion ban [JURIST report; SB 33 text, PDF] on Saturday, but the Louisiana law will only take effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade [text] or if the US Constitution is amended to allow states to prohibit abortions. AP has more.

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