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S.D. voters consider abortion restrictions

Sept. 21, 2008 at 3:24 PM

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- On South Dakota's Nov. 4 ballot is a proposal that would outlaw most abortions in the state.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that voters are being asked for the second time since 2006 to restrict access to abortions.

Initiated Measure 11 would ban the procedure except in cases of rape, incest and in some cases where the health and life of the woman is in danger.

A more restrictive measure failed in 2006. Supporters of Initiated Measure 11 say they hope to prevent more than 700 abortions a year. Proponents say they also hope such a law would produce a case to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Supporter Leslee Unruh called Measure 11 "urgent for the babies who are aborted," while Dr. Marvin Buehner, a physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, said the law "would amount to a total ban" on abortion.

"If there's a risk of a Class 4 felony if I don't meet the ambiguous standard of 'serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily organ or system,' there's no way I would consider doing an abortion for health reasons," Buehner said. "This represents incredible government interference in the practice of medicine."

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