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Reproductive Freedom

"Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman's decision... whether to end her pregnancy. A woman's right to make that choice freely is fundamental."
  --U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 1986

Decisions about contraception, marriage, and parenting are among the most intimate and important decisions a woman will ever make. Since its inception in 1920, the ACLU has recognized that personal privacy and reproductive freedoms are among our most important constitutional liberties. The ACLU was the first national organization to argue for abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court, and has been the principal defender of those rights since 1973, when the Court recognized the right to choose in Roe v. Wade. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we aim to protect access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, from sex education and family planning services, to prenatal care and childbearing assistance, to abortion counseling and services.

South Dakota has defeated two abortion ban initiatives in 2006 and again in 2008. In November 2006, the voters repealed a ban that would have outlawed nearly all abortions in the state -- South Dakotans voted 56 to 44 percent against the measure. In 2008, South Dakotans again voted down an abortion ban initiative that would have severely limited reproductive choice.

These initiatives were dangerous attempts by government to interfere in the healthcare decisions of women and families in South Dakota. The ACLU worked closely with the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families to defeat these two initiatives and will continue to work with pro-choice organization in our state to ensure that government does not interfere with reproductive choices.

Yet South Dakota is still failing when it comes to protecting access to reproductive health care, according to research from 2005. Ninety-eight percent of counties in the state are without an abortion provider. In a report by the Guttmacher Institute, South Dakota ranked 44th in the nation in its efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy.

View more South Dakota reproductive healthcare facts from the Guttmacher Institute.

Read entire statement by Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Anthony D. Romero, ACLU; and Nancy Keenan, NARAL after the defeat of the 2006 ban initiative.

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