Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SD Legislature Now in Session

icon of web correspondent Shannon

by Shannon

Web Correspondent
South Dakota Community Organizer
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

The elections are over, lawmakers are in Pierre, and Governor Rounds has given his State of the State address:  the start of another legislative session in South Dakota.  I always am filled with such hope at the beginning of the session.  

This year, I'm filled with even more than in years past.  Just a little over two months ago, the voters of South Dakota spoke loud and clear (again) and soundly defeated another attempt to ban abortion in the state.  This is a mandate to our lawmakers that it's time to work on other matters in Pierre.  The people of this state want Government to stay out of their very personal family decisions.

Instead of working to ban abortion, we need to work on prevention and education.

Just like we did during the election, Planned Parenthood will be working very closely with the SD Campaign for Healthy Families on a proactive legislative agenda.  You can look for legislation that works on reducing unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortion in the state.

We are prepared for our opposition, but we hope that they, too, heard the overwhelming message of the voters.  Just after the election, a poll was conducted, asking 800 voters:  "If the state legislature in Pierre were to address the issue of abortion next year, which do you think would be more important for the legislature to address - preventing unwanted pregnancies by supporting family planning, abstinence-first education and birth control, OR working to enact tougher laws to reduce the number of abortions performed in South Dakota?"  58 percent of those polled said our lawmakers should work on preventing unwanted pregnancies.  And an additional 5% said the legislature shouldn't take up the issue of abortion at all.

It's time to end the bitter debate in South Dakota.   It's time to pass some legislation that will have a positive impact on the lives of women and families in this state.

Stay tuned....

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