South Dakota Abortion Ban Gets Final Approval, Heads to Governor

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Ban Gets Final Approval, Heads to Governor

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 26, 2004

Pierre, SD ( — The South Dakota legislature gave final approval to legislation that would ban most abortions, when the state House agreed with changes the state Senate made to the bill. Now the legislation heads to pro-life Governor Mike Rounds, who says he wants to review the legislation before saying whether he will sign it into law.

"We’ll sit down, look through the bill and make a decision as to whether we sign it or not sign it," Rounds told KELO-TV. "I’ve consistently said I don’t commit to any particular bill until I’ve had a chance to see it when it comes to me."

Some legislators are concerned the legislation is dead on arrival in the courts after Planned Parenthood files a lawsuit against it, and they are worried it will take as much as $1 million to pay for attorney fees to defend the law.

Rounds says the pricetag doesn’t affect his decision, but he warned legislators that they would have to foot the bill if he signed it.

The sponsor of the legislation urged Rounds to agree to it.

"The bill, once again, reaffirms that the South Dakota Bill of Rights applies equally to born and unborn human lives, finds that human life begins at fertilization," Rep. Matt McCaulley, R-Sioux Falls, said. "It cites the risks of abortion to pregnant women, and poses a felony for performing abortions in South Dakota."

The governor said his biggest consideration is whether the bill would actually save any lives.

"What the proponents have said is this is the appropriate vehicle to use to overturn Roe vs. Wade. I’ll look at it, we’ll decide if it has those possibilities and move from there," Rounds told the television station.

Some pro-life advocates say the law has no chance of preventing any abortions because it will be declared unconstitutional by lower courts and the decision will be upheld by the pro-abortion Supreme Court.

They say pro-life people should instead work to elect pro-life members of the U.S. Senate to confirm pro-life justices to the high court.

Both of South Dakota’s U.S. senators, Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson, both Demcorats, support abortion.

Rounds has five days to decide whether he will sign or veto the bill. If he signs the bill, Planned Parenthood has already indicated it will file suit against it. If he vetoes the bill, the legislator can rework it and send it back to the governor.

In 2002, 826 abortions were performed in South Dakota and the Planned Parenthood business in Sioux Falls performed 815 of them.