by Steven Ertelt
January 3, 2005
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — If the South Dakota state legislature can put together a bill banning abortions that looks good to Governor Mike Rounds, he says he will sign it.
Last year, Rounds issued a technical veto of legislation that he said wasn’t properly crafted. The state House overrode the veto, but the state Senate failed to override it by one vote.
Regarding new legislation, Governor Rounds told the Associated Press, "If it saves lives, which is what our goal is, I would feel morally obligated to sign the bill."
Ultimately, the governor says he wants the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized unlimited abortion.
"I’d like to see Roe v. Wade repealed," Rounds told AP. "I’d like to get legislation in place that could successfully challenge Roe v. Wade and make good law."
Whether the legislature will consider another version of the legislation is a larger question.
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.
"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.
Pro-life groups were divided over the 2004 bill, with some supporting it and others concerned that the current pro-abortion Supreme Court would overturn it and create more pro-Roe legal precedent.
The state would also have to pay pro-abortion groups millions in attorney fees if it lost the legal challenge to the bill.
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.
One legislator tried to convert the bill into a provision that would have required the state’s lone abortion facility to tell women about abortion’s risks and alternatives. Similar laws in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of abortions by approximately one-third.
In 2002, 826 abortions were performed in South Dakota and the Planned Parenthood business in Sioux Falls performed 815 of them.