October 16, 2008 

Sanford Health’s Memo

We’ve been saying it all along:  Initiated Measure 11 is a dangerously vague piece of legislation that would have serious implications for doctors and families in South Dakota.

Now we’ve got even more proof that what we’ve been saying is true.

On Tuesday, an internal legal document went to about 50 employees at Sanford Health.  It was put together by Sanford’s legal team and was designed to look at the impact IM 11 would have on Sanford Health should it pass.

In it’s conclusion, the memo states:

“For those instances where a pregnant woman faces uncertain, but potentially very serious health risks, Initiated Measure 11 will require a physician to choose between possibly committing a felony or subjecting a pregnant woman to a higher degree of medical risk than what would otherwise be clinically desired.

That’s pretty clear – cut and dry.

This memo proves that Vote Yes for Life has been lying to the voters of this state.  Initiated Measure 11, in fact, goes much further than banning elective abortions.  It would actually endanger the health of women in South Dakota.

When you visit the doctor’s office, do you really want your healthcare provider wondering, “How long should my patient suffer before I treat them so that I won’t go to jail?”  That nightmare will become a reality if this measure passes.

If that isn’t enough, the Sanford memo also proves there is no exception for fatal fetal anomalies.  And, it points out that criminal liability will extend beyond just doctors in South Dakota.  Any person involved in the procedure would be in violation.  That includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees.

We at the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families have recognized these dangers from the get-go.  Our opponents want the voters of South Dakota to believe this is a ban with exceptions.  They want the voters of the state to believe this is what the public asked for in 2006.   But, with the South Dakota State Medical Association’s recent opposition of IM 11, plus the Sanford memo, we have the mainstream medical community behind us.  Not only that, we have the TRUTH behind us.

Vote NO on 11.

To read Sanford’s confidential legal analysis of IM11’s interference in the practice of medicine, go to: 


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I'm voting no because

  • Anonymous

    Having an abortion is never an easy decision for a woman.  It is a very personal, heartfelt choice that no one else can, or has the right to make.

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  • Elizabeth from Vermillion

    I’m old enough to remember what happened to women when abortions were criminalized in an earlier era.

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  • Lorraine from Spearfish

    The people who are promoting this measure admit they want to challenge Roe v. Wade and this is one step in that process. 

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