Voters in the midwestern US state of South Dakota will vote in a November referendum on abortion, reviving the country's already polarized debate on the issue, state officials said Monday.
Voters in the conservative state narrowly rejected a total ban on pregnancy termination in 2006, with 56 percent voting no, but exit polls showed a majority would have backed a ban if it had been less strict.
AdvertisementThe 2006 text allowed for exceptions only if the life of the mother were in immediate danger. The 2008 version takes into account cases of rape, incest, or risk of grave health effects for the mother.
"All induced abortions, whether surgically or chemically induced, terminate an entire, unique, living human being, a human being separated from his or her mother, as a matter of scientific and biological fact," says the text to be voted upon on November 4.
About 11,000 babies are born each year in South Dakota, while just 800 abortions are performed in one clinic by a doctor who comes in once per week from another state.
The referendum aims to press the US Supreme Court to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed the abortion on the basis of the right to privacy, a legal standing that has been chipped away at by subsequent cases and the nomination in 2005 of two conservative judges to the high court.