Secretary of State Chris Nelson said Monday that a petition to refer the new abortion law to a public vote has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, making official a matter that is expected to dominate political debates this year.
The referred law says life begins at conception. A doctor could be charged with a felony for performing an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman.
It's unclear whether the ban will actually win with voters. One poll showed them opposing it 62-33; other polls have shown support about 50-50. Gov. Mike Rounds, who signed the bill, has seen his approval drop from the mid-70s to the high 50s because of the ban. But some Republicans who opposed the ban were defeated in party primaries this month. Historically, pro-life single issue voters are more energized than pro-choice voters. But pro-choice voters rarely have such an edifying ballot measure to work against.