Since the repeal of Roe V. Wade, Democrats have convinced many voters that pro-life Republicans want to take away women's rights. The success of that well-funded campaign continued last week in Ohio, where voters enshrined in the state constitution abortion as a "right" for any reason and at any point in a pregnancy.
Pro-aborts in South Dakota emboldened by Issue 1 victory
While pro-lifers in Ohio came up short last week, advocates for life in another state have developed a game plan to halt a similarly extreme abortion measure.
Abortion activists in South Dakota want to amend the state constitution to permit abortion up to birth. They have already launched a petition drive to get it on the ballot. Supporters need to collect 37,000 valid signatures by May 7, 2024, and have them certified for the November 2024 election ballot.
But Dale Bartscher of South Dakota Right to Life tells AFN their team is on the offense.
"We have started a 'Decline to Sign' campaign," he shares. "We're notifying our friends across the state of South Dakota to decline to sign this horrendous, radical abortion constitutional amendment."
As Bartscher explains, the proposal is indeed radical.
"It is abortion up to birth. It strips the parents of parental rights of their children. It removes safeguards on the abortuary here in the state of South Dakota for health reasons," he emphasizes. "It is not who we are – and that's why we've got to stop this thing before it hits the ballot."
If the proposed amendment makes it that far, millions of dollars will be poured into the state to make child termination a constitutional right – just as happened with Ohio's Issue 1. South Dakota pro-lifers are raising money at LifeDefenseFund.com to fund their campaign.
Longtime pro-life warrior Janet Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action (F2A), says the other side scared voters into believing a vote against Issue 1 was a vote against women's safety.
"This was about foreign money, out of state money that came in to buy an election, and they did it with lies," she asserts. "Sadly, many in Ohio believe those lies. I know; I saw it as they walked in the polls and said, 'I've got to do this, because women will die.' It was all based on a lie, and it shouldn't be in the state that the one with the most money wins."
Noting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that the 14th Amendment requires all states to grant homosexual marriages, Porter's group is working to remedy the abortion issue through the statehouse and the courts.
"That decision undid, stripped away 28 states that had passed constitutional amendments to protect marriage between one man and one woman," Porter recalls. "The folks who are anti-marriage can strike down constitutional amendments; the people who are pro-life see amendments struck down as well, especially amendments that violate inalienable rights."
"These are the rights that we were born with," the pro-lifer points out.
So with court precedent and the Declaration of Independence on their side, Ohio's majority pro-life legislature is implementing a strategy to overturn the new constitutional amendment.
First, because the amendment is so vague, they plan to remove jurisdiction from the courts "so that they can't misapply Issue 1 for the benefit of the abortion industry," Porter details.
"The lawmakers are the lawmaking body," she points out. "They're the ones who … not only make the laws, but they're the ones who grant jurisdiction to the courts to whether or not they can rule on something."
Congress has removed jurisdiction before.
"Remember when Democratic liberal Majority Leader Tom Daschle … actually withdrew jurisdiction from the courts to rule on brushfire in North Dakota? I think babies are at least as important as brushfire in North Dakota," the pro-lifer submits.
The fact that millions of outside dollars were spent to influence the election is another reason the legislature will act.
"Our inalienable rights are not up for grabs for the ones with the most money," Porter states. "Our children are not for sale to the highest bidder, and that's the message the legislature is sending in a unified way."
She encourages pro-life activists and politicians to not be afraid to stand for life, and she insists that the Left's narrative is "completely wrong;" Republicans do not have a messaging problem.
"They're saying that the pro-life movement, the right to life movement that has elected presidents for the last 50 years, has changed the course of where we go, that's overturned Roe v. Wade – that that's what's losing. It's not true. What that narrative does," Porter continues, "is make people afraid."
Looking ahead to the campaign trail next year, she says pro-lifers must be bold.
"What we need to do is end abortion and not be afraid … to say we're standing for life, and we're not backing down. That's what needs to happen," Porter submits. "When foreign money comes in and interferes with our election, we need to stand against it. And if it's in the legislature, if it's in the courts, we're going to fight them at every angle, in every arena we can."
"We're going to stop this from happening, because it's absolutely a violation of our inalienable right to life," the pro-lifer reiterates. "It should not be up for a vote with the popular vote."