NO Exception for Rape, Incest Victims


Casey Murschel is the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and a state legislator.

By now, I'm sure most of you have heard about the role that my state, South Dakota, is playing in the most recent attack on reproductive freedom and privacy. With Referred Law 6, the voters of South Dakota will have a chance to repeal a ban on nearly all abortions- including in cases of rape and incest. Early polling shows most South Dakotans are ready to repeal the ban, so the ban's supporters are launching a deceptive ad campaign.

While there are many different misleading statements in this ad, I'd like to focus on what I see as one of the worst, and try to dispel this deceptive message. The ad claims, "Victims of rape and incest can still access the best options for medical care, compassion and justice and this can include the morning after pill."

As a state legislator who voted against this ban, I saw first hand how the other side pushed through this measure. They never wanted exceptions for rape or incest- and it galls me to see them manipulating the facts. I want to be perfectly clear: Within Referred Law 6, there is NO exception for rape and incest victims. NONE.

  • Referred Law 6 eliminates an important option for victims of rape and incest, leaving victims with no options.
  • Referred Law 6 doesn't allow abortion as an option for rape and incest victims, and emergency contraception (EC) is not an option for most of these victims as nearly half of South Dakota's pharmacies do not carry this form of contraception.
  • South Dakota allows certain individuals and entities, such as pharmacists, to refuse to provide women specific reproductive health services, information or referrals. In other words: Pharmacists in South Dakota are not obligated to dispense emergency contraception.
  • In fact, for three years in a row – including this year, when they enacted this radical abortion ban – South Dakota legislators have defeated measures that would have required emergency rooms to provide sexual assault survivors with information about and access to emergency contraception.
  • This law will victimize survivors of rape and incest a second time.
  • Many victims of rape and incest are too afraid or ashamed to come forward in time to prevent pregnancy with emergency contraception (which is only effective within 72 hours or less) or lack access to pregnancy prevention options.
  • In 2004 there were 334 reported forcible rapes, according to the Attorney General's office in South Dakota, and worse yet nearly half of rapes are not reported.

Referred Law 6 will take private decisions away from families and put them in the hands of the government. If you live in South Dakota, or have family or friends in the state, please join us in doing everything to make sure you and your family Vote No on Referred Law 6.

For more information, please visit the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and to view their newest ad, click here.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with Alisha Sedor please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.