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S.D. House sends gov. bill banning abortion

PIERRE, S.D. (BP)–South Dakota’s House of Representatives passed and sent to the governor Feb. 25 a bill that would ban almost all abortions.

The House passed the bill 54-15, one day after the Senate passed it 18-15. It now goes to South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, who is pro-life but has not said whether he would sign it. He has until March 12 to make a decision, according to Reuters.

The bill states that life begins at conception, or specifically “when the ovum is fertilized by male sperm.” It also states that abortion imposes “significant risks to the health and life of the pregnant mother” — including depression.

“The Legislature finds that the State of South Dakota has a compelling and paramount interest in the preservation and protection of all human life and finds that the guarantee of due process of law under the South Dakota Bill of Rights applies equally to born and unborn human beings,” the bill reads.

“… The Legislature finds that a pregnant mother, together with the unborn human child, each possess a natural and inalienable right to life under the South Dakota Bill of Rights.”

The bill includes an exception for the life of the mother and for a pregnancy that poses a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” to the mother.

Doctors who perform abortions that do not meet the exceptions would be committing a felony crime.

Pro-lifers have been divided over the bill. Some have said the bill would send the rest of the country a staunch pro-life message and perhaps embolden other pro-life state legislators. But other pro-lifers have said the bill would almost certainly be struck down in court, reinforcing the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The Thomas More Law Center helped write the bill.
The full text of the bill can be read online at http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2004/bills/HB1191enr.htm .

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