Governor of South Dakota signs abortion ban into law

By Chet Brokaw, in Pierre, South Dakota 
Published: 07 March 2006

The governor of South Dakota signed into law on Monday
a ban on nearly all abortions in the state, setting up
a court fight aimed at challenging the 1973 Supreme
Court decision that legalised abortion in the United

The new law makes it a crime for doctors to perform an
abortion unless the procedure is necessary to save a
woman's life and makes no exception for cases of rape
or incest. Doctors could get up to five years in
prison for performing an illegal abortion.

Planned Parenthood, which operates the state's only
abortion clinic immediately pledged to challenge the
measure. That challenge could either be in court or by
collecting petition signatures to refer the measure to
a statewide vote in which voters would be asked to
repeal the abortion ban.

Governor Mike Rounds said he expected the law would be
tied up in court for years and would not take effect
unless the US Supreme Court upheld it. The ban is
supposed to take effect on 1 July, but a federal judge
is likely to suspend it during an expected legal

The South Dakota state legislature passed the bill
last month after supporters argued that the recent
appointment of two conservative justices, John Roberts
and Samuel Alito, have made the Supreme Court more
likely to overturn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 ruling that
legalised abortion.

Mr Rounds earlier said he thought it would be better
to eliminate abortion in steps rather than attempt a
court challenge to wipe it out all at once. But he
accepted that many abortion opponents would rather
seek a reverse Roe vs Wade with a single Supreme Court
ruling. AP 


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