South Dakota's Measure 11: Fundamentally Constitutional

Please write an essay about a judicial issue -- for instance, a state or federal law, or a case that has been brought before the United States Supreme Court -- has had a formative effect with regards to your interest in the legal studies. You are free to compose in a literary style and length of your choosing.


In Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, this Court struck down a Texas law that rendered it illegal for a woman to abort a pregnancy unless her life was in danger. This Court granted complete freedom of choice to the woman in her first trimester of pregnancy. (Roe)

Subsequent cases presented to this Court placed restrictions on the holding of Roe. Notably, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Gonzales v. Carhart, reduced the number of circumstances in which an abortion can be legally obtained. However, the central holding of Roe—that a woman maintains the right to terminate within the first trimester of pregnancy—remains intact.

On November 5th, 2008, the voters of the State of South Dakota were presented with Initiated Measure 11. The Measure was approved. It added a new section to Chapter 22-17 of the State Constitution of South Dakota that asserts that all abortions terminate a living human being; that the State has a duty to protect all human beings, “including those…living in utero;” that abortions carry “significant psychological and physical health risks;” that termination infringes upon a mother’s right to a relationship with her child; that the State has an “established history” of protecting the life and health of the unborn child...

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