SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The debate over abortion is back in the national spotlight after a draft opinion from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked on Monday night. 

The draft opinion is on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and it would overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that has guided the issue of abortion being legal in the United States. 

However, 18 years ago South Dakota was the center of the nation’s debate on abortion. 

In 2006, the South Dakota legislature passed an abortion ban aimed at overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling. 

A public referendum movement gained enough signatures to move the law to a statewide public vote in the November general election. Voters in South Dakota were inundated with TV commercials, radio commercials, yard signs and marketing material from both sides of the issue. You can see some of KELOLAND News’ coverage of the 2006 debate in the video above. 

Jan Nicolay, a former state lawmaker, helped lead the Campaign for Healthy Families and the “Vote no” movement against the abortion law.  

Leslee Unruh helped lead the activist movement for Vote Yes For Life and the “Vote yes” movement in favor of passing an anti-abortion law. 

In November 2006, 334,593 South Dakotans voted 55-44 Referred Law 6. 

The issue didn’t go away after the 2006 vote. In 2008, Initiated Measure 11, was a revised version of the same law from the 2006 vote. IM 11 would have banned abortions except in the cases of rape or incest.

That vote also fell 55-44 with 206,535 voting no and 167,560 voting yes.