by Steven Ertelt
February 21, 2007
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — After getting through the state House on a lopsided bipartisan vote, a second attempt to ban abortions in South Dakota was defeated in a state Senate committee Wednesday. The committee voted against the bill on an 8-1 margin and lawmakers said the measure probably wouldn’t stand up in court.
Last year, South Dakota voters defeated an abortion ban by a 55-44 margin at the ballot box, but polls before the debate showed they would favor a ban with rape and incest exceptions.
Legislators responded with a revised abortion measure that banned about 98 percent of all abortions but allowed them in those very rare sexual abuse cases.
But the Senate State Affairs Committee said no to HB 1293 despite the House approving it 45-25 last week.
State Rep. Gordon Howie, the lead sponsor of the abortion ban, said he may consider working with a supportive senator to use a procedural motion to get the ban out of the committee, but he likely wouldn’t have enough votes.
The motion needs a one-third vote to bring the bill to the House floor but supporters of last year’s abortion ban have already voted against this one and more may do so on that vote.
Sen. Bob Gray, a Republican who voted against the ban this time but for it last year, said he didn’t think it would be found constitutional because the rape and incest provisions were awkward.
Senate Republican Leader Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls, another committee member, said, “The root issue here is the clear unconstitutionality of this bill.”
Sen. Gene Abdallah, a Sioux Falls Republican, was the lone vote for the bill. He said it wasn’t a waste of the legislature’s time to consider it.
The bill is meant to be a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade which toppled pro-life laws on abortion throughout the country.
HB 1293 would allow abortions in the very rare exceptions and would put anyone doing an abortion in jail for up to 10 years.
Women seeking abortions in sexual abuse cases would first have to report the crime to authorities and allow a tissue sample to be sent to them to help track down the assailant. Doctors would have to confirm the report and obtain DNA evidence to help police track down the assailant.
Abortions in cases of rape and incest are very rare — accounting for less than one percent of all abortions according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Abortions in rape and incest cases would be allowed until the 17th week of pregnancy, under the bill.
Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood in South Dakota, says her group is opposed to the bill and complained about the rape reporting provisions, saying they are too much of a burden for women who are victims.
Her group runs the only abortion center in the state, located in Sioux Falls.
Related web sites:
Text of HB 1293 – https://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2007/bills/HB1293p.htm