South Dakota abortion lawsuit challenged in federal court

South Dakota abortion lawsuit challenged in federal court

A pro-abortion rights organization is asking a federal judge to stop an anti-abortion group from taking legal action and preventing a constitutional amendment from appearing on the ballot.

On Tuesday, Dakotans for Health filed a motion with the U.S. District Court to enforce a previous ruling that invalidates anti-abortion Life Defense Fund’s June 13 lawsuit.

Life Defense Fund filed the lawsuit in an effort to keep an abortion constitutional amendment off the November ballot. It alleges Dakotans for Health committed fraud by failing to give out circulator handouts and misleading petition signers.

One of Life Defense Fund’s arguments against Dakotans for Health was its failure to file petition residency affidavits required by South Dakota Codified Law 2-1-1.4, which would in turn, invalidate the petition and take it off the ballot.

“They’re trying to invalidate our entire petition and they’re referencing this residency requirement which was invalidated over a year and a half ago,” Dakotans for Health Co-Founder Rick Weiland said.

Sara Frankenstein, the lawyer for the Life Defense Fund, calls SDCL 2-1-1.4 the Mickelson Law.

Dakotans for Health said it successfully challenged a portion of the law on the federal level three years ago.

According to Dakotans for Health court documents, Lawrence Piersol from the Federal District Court for the District of South Dakota struck down 2020 SB 180, that would require petition circulators to register and provide their residency history.

“So all of SB 180, it’s not a law, it doesn’t exist,” Weiland said.

Frankenstein said the Mickelson Law does exist because there has been nothing to replace it. She argued that because two attempts to repeal and change the language of the Mickelson Law were shot down, the Mickelson Law is considered “good law” and in effect.

But, based on input from the South Dakota Attorney General and the Legislative Research Council website, SDCL 2-1-1.4 is not in effect.

You can read the full article at Siouxland Proud.