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South Dakota abortion-rights initiative supporters submitted enough signatures to make the ballot in November.

South Dakota abortion-rights initiative supporters submitted enough signatures Wednesday to make the ballot in November.

The signatures were submitted by Dakotans for Health, an abortion-rights group leading the effort in the state. The organization filed the petition with more than 55,000 signatures, which is higher than the 35,000 necessary to get the petition on the ballot.

The push to get the amendment on the ballot is likely to be met with legal challenges in the state where currently there is a near-total abortion ban in place following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022. South Dakota’s law prohibits almost all abortions except in cases to save the life of the mother.

“[We] feel pretty good about our chances of qualifying, and we’ve done our own internal validation and reference thing with voter files and the like and feel that we’ll have plenty signatures and we’ll be on the ballot this November,” Dakotans for Health co-founder Rick Weiland told The Hill.

Dakotans for Health and other in-state backers hope to have the constitutional amendment on the ballot that would make abortion, in the first trimester, legal in all instances.

“And what our amendment does, it’s just a reinstatement of Roe v. Wade,” Weiland said. “The language is almost identical, and it would allow for access to abortion rights through the second trimester and the language of Roe, which indicates that the state can regulate, but not prohibit in the second trimester and the regulations are things like making sure that it’s a licensed medical professional and licensed facility.”

Abortions would only be allowed in the third trimester for reasons like saving the life of the mother, he added. “So basically, we’re trying to codify Roe v. Wade in our state constitution,” Weiland said.
Weiland said the group has been collecting signatures since November 2022.

The language from Dakotans for Health is similar to measures approved by voters in other states, namely in Vermont, Michigan, California and Ohio. A number of additional states are looking to put abortion protection measure on the ballot in November
The signatures now head to the state’s Secretary of State Monae Johnson, whose office has until mid-August to validate the push.

“Today, we proudly present this petition to the Secretary of State, affirming our commitment to letting the voters, not the politicians, determine the course of reproductive rights in our state,” Weiland said in a press release.

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