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  • Writer's pictureDakotans For Health

Urgent Call to Action: Oppose HB 1244 and Protect Reproductive Rights in South Dakota

Contact your State Senator tell them to vote no on HB 1244

HB 1244: A Dire Threat to Reproductive Rights and the Initiative Process in South Dakota

In South Dakota, the spirit of direct democracy has long empowered citizens to shape the laws of their state through the initiative process. This foundational process allows South Dakotans to propose laws and even amend the state constitution by gathering signatures to put their ideas to a statewide vote. Issues as critical as reproductive rights have been championed through this democratic avenue, ensuring that the voice of the people is heard loud and clear.

However, this cherished tradition is under threat from HB 1244, a proposed bill that seeks not just to undermine the initiative process but specifically to block the restoration of reproductive rights in South Dakota.

What is HB 1244?

Introduced by Right to Life Vice President Jon Hansen, HB 1244 proposes a perilous signature withdrawal provision. This provision allows for the invalidation of a petition with tens of thousands of signatures—if just a few hundred individuals are coerced into withdrawing their support. For example, under this bill, a petition with 35,017 valid signatures could be invalidated by a single withdrawal, a clear threat to the democratic process.

Why is HB 1244 alarming?

This bill is not just an attack on reproductive rights but a broader assault on the initiative process itself. It opens up signatories to potential harassment and undermines the efforts to bring important issues to the ballot. This could deter citizens from participating in a process that has been a right for over a century.

The implications of HB 1244 extend beyond partisan lines; it is a "sneak attack" by politicians in Pierre on the people's right to decide. The proposed law has been criticized for potentially leading to signer intimidation, a concern echoed by the Florida Supreme Court's rejection of a similar scheme.

Take Action against HB 1244:

If you value the right to have a say in the laws that govern you, especially on critical issues like reproductive rights, now is the time to act. HB 1244 has passed the South Dakota House and is now up for consideration in the Senate. Your voice can make a difference in opposing this bill:

Identify Your Senator: Use the Secretary of State's website or a legislative district map to find out who represents you.

South Dakota 2023 Legislative District Map

Reach Out: Find your senator's contact information and express your opposition to HB 1244. Phone calls, emails, and texts can all be effective ways to communicate your stance.

Spread the Word: Encourage friends, family, and fellow citizens to contact their senators as well. The more voices heard, the stronger the message.

Focus Points for Your Message:

It is important to focus your message and to be inclusive and persuasive in your tone when communicating to your legislator. Here are a few key themes to include in your note:

  • Oppose HB 1244 because it threatens the democratic process and the right to direct democracy that South Dakotans have valued for over a century.

  • Oppose HB 1244 because it seeks to intimidate voters and silence voices on the critical issue of reproductive rights.

  • Oppose HB 1244 because it is an unjust attempt by a minority to impose their will on the majority, reflecting fear of the people's power to decide.

The fight against HB 1244 is about preserving our democratic rights and ensuring that all South Dakotans can participate in shaping the laws of their state without fear of intimidation or suppression. Contact your state senator today and urge them to stand with the people of South Dakota by voting NO on HB 1244.

"Under God, the People Rule"—let's ensure that remains the case by taking action against HB 1244.

P.S. You can always make a direct contribution to support the campaign too. We prefer ActBlue if you can. You can also send us a check to Dakotans for Health, PO Box 2063, Sioux Falls, SD 57101.

Note: if you have saved your contribution information with ActBlue Express your donation will go through immediately.

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