NEW YORK -Today the Center for Reproductive Rights celebrated the failure of the South Dakota abortion ban ballot initiative, which would have forced women in that state to carry pregnancies to term against their will at the risk of their physical and psychological health. For the second time in two years, South Dakotans have resoundingly rejected a measure that would have prohibited nearly all abortions in the state.
"The stakes were high not only for women and families in South Dakota, but for women throughout the country," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "There is no doubt that backers of the South Dakota abortion ban had their sights on the U.S. Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade. This sends an unambiguous message to our elected officials that our government should not interfere with personal and private decisions about our health and families."
Meanwhile, voters in Colorado and California rejected two other ballot measures that threatened women's reproductive rights.
"Fortunately, voters in Colorado and California have made it clear that they put the health, safety and privacy of the women in their states first, above abortion politics," said Northup. "Proponents of both of these measures would be wise to follow the electorate's wishes and put these issues to rest."
Colorado Ballot Measure Number 48, a proposed amendment to Colorado's constitution, was designed to criminalize abortion and outlaw contraception. Voters refused to define a fertilized egg as a person by granting constitutional rights from the "moment of fertilization," an expanded definition of person that would have been the most extreme constitutional amendment of its kind anywhere in the United States.
For the third time in four years, voters in California rejected a measure that would have endangered the health and safety of pregnant teenagers. This dangerous measure would have forced many pregnant teens to notify their parents before seeking an abortion. It would have made scared, pregnant teens who can't go to their parents feel trapped and desperate, the Center said.
About the Center for Reproductive Rights
Founded in 1992 in New York City, the Center for Reproductive Rights is the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing women's reproductive healthcare as a basic human right. The Center works to ensure that women have access to comprehensive information on reproductive and sexual health, contraception, abortion, prenatal and obstetric care and that women have access to these services free from discrimination. In the U.S., the Center's highly experienced litigators have helped millions of women and their families by securing Medicaid funding for abortions, striking abortion bans and other access restrictions and protecting teens' access to confidential reproductive healthcare services and information. In the last two years, we argued Gonzales v. Carhart before the U.S. Supreme Court and litigated over 20 cases on a range of reproductive rights issues.
Internationally, the Center has filed groundbreaking cases in the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American human rights system and before U.N. human rights bodies, and provided legal analysis and support in precedent-setting cases in national courts in Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. Our attorneys have partnered with women's rights advocates around the world, working in more than 50 countries on cases, fact-finding reports, legal publications and law reform efforts. The Center is headquartered in New York City. For more information, please visit www.reproductiverights.org.