South Dakota Abortion Referendum (Remember That One?) Almost Too Close to Call

| Mon Oct. 9, 2006 3:46 AM EDT

When South Dakotans overwhelmingly put a vote on their state's "no exceptions for rape and incest" abortion ban (aka Supreme Court bait) on the November ballot, prochoicers allowed themselves a twinge of schadenfreude: For once, it seemed, prolifers had gone too far, committing themselves to a law that even the reddest of red-state voters couldn't abide. Then, in June, came the first big letdown, with almost no national media attention: Four Republican state legislators who had voted against the law lost to more conservative primary challengers. Now--after a couple of months of campaigning, which, as the LA Times reports, features prolife ads with a "feminist" flair--the ban is down only 44 to 47 percent in a poll (commissioned by a prolife group, so grain of salt advised), which amounts to a statistical dead heat. Hard to believe the law will survive, especially if the GOP's hard-core base stays home, but stranger things have happened. For a great primer on what's really at stake here, check out Cynthia Gorney's piece in the New Yorker, which alas is not online, though you get a flavor in this interview.

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