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S.D. Senate passes bill banning most abortions

PIERRE, S.D. (BP)–In a challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the South Dakota Senate passed a bill Feb. 24 banning virtually all forms of abortion.

A similar version of the bill had previously passed the House, which now must approve the new version before it goes to Gov. Mike Rounds, who is pro-life but has not stated whether he would sign it.

The bill found an unusual divide among pro-lifers. Some abortion foes opposed the bill on the grounds that it would be overturned in the courts, thus reinforcing the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The Thomas More Law Center has worked together with House sponsor Matt McCaulley, a Republican, for several months in drafting the language and planning the legal strategy. If signed into the law, the bill almost certainly would face a lawsuit.

The bill, passed by the Senate 18-15, 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 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 reads.

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.

The House earlier passed a similar version, 54-14.
The complete text of the bill that passed the Senate can be read online at: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2004/bills/HB1191S.htm.

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