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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 08:48 GMT
South Dakota rejects abortion ban
Students in South Dakota campaign against new abortion law
There was a hard fought campaign on both sides of the initiative
Voters in South Dakota have rejected a near total ban on abortion in one of the highest profile state referendums taking place alongside the US polls.

Voters rejected the ban, signed into law in March but not yet in effect.

In several states, voters rejected gay marriage by limiting marriage to unions between a man and a woman.

There were, in total, 205 referendums in 37 states. The referendums, known as ballot initiatives, are proposed state laws that must be decided by voters.

Tobacco and smoking taxes, property rights and minimum wage levels were also big issues put to the vote.

Hopes for turnout

Missouri approved a measure backing stem cell research, despite the opposition of George W Bush to much of this research.

Of the eight states where marriage amendments were on the ballot, six - Virginia, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, South Dakota and Colorado - were heading towards a rejection of gay marriage.

Conservatives had been hoping the votes on same-sex marriage might increase turnout for the Republican Party.

Democrats looked for a boost from low-income voters turning out on behalf of measures to raise the state minimum wage in six states.

But correspondents said no measure galvanised political activists across the country like the South Dakota abortion measure.

The law would have allowed abortions only to save a pregnant woman's life - and was designed to draw a legal challenge amd ultimately overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court case that legalized abortion.


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