Letter on Life

July 1, 2023




I was attending an outdoor concert in Sioux Falls in early June, when I declined to sign. Just what was I declining to sign? A petition, which, if signed by 40,000 eligible South Dakota voters, would put before the people an amendment to the state constitution legalizing painful, late-term abortions, including those done right up until the moment of birth.


I knew all about the petition, long before I joined the folks streaming into the concert, so I said curtly, “No way!”, and made my way rather angrily towards the music.


I didn’t handle it the best, perhaps, but there was no way I was going to sign.


And neither should you.


An LCMS church member I recently talked with about this is a member of the board of the Life Defense Fund, which is fighting this attempt to change state law so that unborn babies are all the more vulnerable. The LCMS man’s name is Steve Perkins, and he’s from Sioux Falls. Steve is unabashedly pro-life, believing that all human life is a precious gift from God.


Steve says that we citizens and church members need to watch the language of the petitioners. They will falsely represent this as a “women’s health and reproductive rights issue.” The unborn child, tragically, is afforded no right to life.


He told me to emphasize how radical this move to amend the state’s constitution would be. According to the Life Defense Fund: 


·        It would be one of the most extreme abortion laws in the nation. Abortion from conception to birth–even horrific late-term abortions–would be legalized.

·        The Constitutional Amendment is confusing and vague and would force future decisions on abortions to be decided by unelected judges rather than by the people.

·        The Constitutional Amendment is so extreme that it would also override our state’s existing common-sense, bi-partisan abortion policies. Existing common-sense laws that would be overridden by the Constitutional Amendment include:

*Prohibitions on taxpayer funded abortions: overridden.

*Parental notification laws respecting minors seeking abortions: overridden.

*Criminal laws protecting a mother from being forced to have an abortion against her will: overridden.

*Conscience protections so that doctors and nurses cannot be forced to participate in performing abortions against their will:  overridden.


The bottom line is that this potential Constitutional Amendment is truly extreme and a grave threat to life in our state.


Steve says that, realistically, the groups pushing for this amendment will have no trouble securing 40,000 valid signatures. And so the matter will likely be put to the people on the ballot in 2024. Please be bold in taking your stand against this radical and evil assault against human life. Decline to sign the petition, or if it comes to a vote, please, please vote no on the constitutional amendment.


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you,…

--Jeremiah 1:5


Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

-- Psalm 139:16



--Rev. Dr. Scott Sailer

South Dakota District President

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