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South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds today signed into law a highly restrictive anti-abortion bill aimed ultimately at overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

The legislation, passed last month by state lawmakers, bans abortion in nearly every case and punishes doctors who perform one with a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.

The bill allows abortion only in the event a mother’s life is in danger, making no exception for rape or incest.

South Dakota Planned Parenthood, which operates the state’s sole abortion clinic, has said it will challenge the law.

Rounds said in a written statement he expects the law will be tied up in court for years and will not be enacted unless upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society,” Rounds said. “The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.”

Prior to the signing, an anonymous donor pledged $1 million to help the state defend the new statute.

Last week, Rounds was in Washington for a National Governors Association meeting where he found more pledges of donations and the support of some of his colleagues across the nation.

“There is a lot of interest in it here,” Rounds said, according to the Associated Press. “And there are a number of states that have similar legislation. A lot of governors expressing support and wishing us good luck and suggesting that they will have similar types of proposals that may very well be favorably looked upon across the United States.”

State lawmakers in Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Indiana also are considering legislation that would heavily restrict abortions.

National pro-life activists, who are urging supporters to send $10 to Rounds to support the state’s defense, chose South Dakota as its first vehicle to challenge the Roe decision.

They believe that if a legal challenge ever reaches high court, the recent addition of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the bench makes it more disposed than ever to overturn the 1973 ruling.

As WorldNetDaily reported, South Dakota’s House of Representatives passed a similar bill in 2004 by a 54-14 vote, before its narrow defeat in the Senate, 18-17. The bill actually initially passed the Senate, but Rounds issued a “style and form” veto, sending the bill back with wording changes to make sure existing abortion restrictions were not threatened if the bill were struck down in court.

In 2004, two pro-life groups clashed over the demise of the previous measure. The public-interest Thomas More Law Center, which helped draft the bill, accused National Right to Life of “complicity” with pro-abortion groups for lobbying against it.

Some pro-life groups think the time is not right to take such drastic measures to overturn the Roe decision.


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Previous stories:

Governor’s pen poised to ignite Roe battle

State lawmakers defy Roe ruling

Pro-life groups divide over abortion ban

Governor prepared to sign ‘Roe’ challenge

South Dakota legislation challenges Roe vs. Wade

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