South Dakota's referendum on whether to repeal the state's outright abortion ban took a strange turn yesterday. The events illustrated just how divisive the question is. Two brothers, both doctors, split on whether the legislature's first-of-its-kind law should stand. One was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion, who said the law should be rescinded. But then Billion's brother, Stephen Billion, showed up at the news conference to say he thought the law should stand.
Here's how the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls describes it:
"I support this courageous act by our South Dakota Legislature and Governor Rounds, because it recognizes the scientific and moral truth about human life in the womb," Stephen Billion, a Sioux Falls internal medicine physician, read from a prepared statement.South Dakota's current limitations on abortion already are strict, and the bill's lack of a clear exception for rape and incest "further victimizes the women of South Dakota," Jack Billion said.
"This abortion ban shuts the door on the last option for a woman facing serious issues while pregnant," he said.
A crowd of Jack Billion supporters attended the press conference, with a handful of abortion ban supporters also present.