by Steven Ertelt
December 9, 2004
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — Legislation in South Dakota that would ban abortions failed last year amid a debate on whether or not it would further the cause of overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed unlimited abortion. The House sponsor did not run for re-election and the Senate sponsor is not sure he’ll bring back the measure next year.
The South Dakota state legislature reconvenes on January 11, but Republican state Sen. Lee Schoenbeck is still weighing plans on whether to revive the legislation.
In 2004, Schoenbeck was the Senate sponsor of the abortion ban that passed in the state House but failed in the Senate by one vote.
"I don’t know," Schoenbeck told the Rapid City Journal newspaper when asked if he would resurrect the bill.
He is also unsure if any other legislator has plans to bring back the legislation, but said speculation the bill may be dead if he doesn’t propose it is off base.
"If anyone says it definitely won’t be back, that’s the wildest guess in the world because they’re predicting what 105 different people will do," Schoenbeck told the Journal.
Matt McCaulley of Sioux Falls, the House sponsor, didn’t seek re-election in November.
While the legislation passed in the state legislature, the Senate was unable to override a veto by Governor Mike Rounds. Rounds issued a technical veto to require the legislature to approve changes to the bill.
The ban produced fierce debate within the pro-life movement with some pro-life groups backing it and others say it would advance to the Supreme Court and lose because the court currently has a 6-3 pro-abortion majority.
That would only add to the legal precedent in favor of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, the latter group of pro-life organizations argued.
Pro-life groups also opposed the bill after a health exception was added to it. That would have gutted the intent of the bill. Other pro-life advocates said the exception was not a problem and the bill should be supported anyway.
In 2002, 826 abortions were performed in South Dakota and the Planned Parenthood business in Sioux Falls performed 815 of them.