Friday, March 18, 2005

S.D. Governor OKs Anti-Abortion Bills

Yahoo! News
S.D. Governor OKs Anti-Abortion Bills

By JOE KAFKA, Associated Press Writer

PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Mike Rounds signed a series of anti-abortion bills, including one that requires doctors to tell women the procedure ends the lives of humans, his office announced Thursday.

The bill-signings further tighten state abortion restrictions that some characterize as among the toughest in the nation.

One of the four new laws requires doctors to inform pregnant women, in writing and in person, no later than two hours before an abortion that the procedure ends the lives of humans and terminates the constitutional relationship women have with their fetuses.

Women also must be told that some women die during abortions and the procedure can lead to later depression and other problems.

Supporters said the law will ensure that women seeking abortions fully understand what they are doing. Opponents said medical privacy would be undermined, and they are considering possible lawsuits before the law takes effect July 1.

Rounds, a Republican elected in 2002, also signed a bill that will automatically ban most abortions in South Dakota if the U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) reverses its 1973 Roe decision and gives states authority to prohibit abortion. The only exceptions would be cases where a woman's life is in danger. Doctors who perform illegal abortions could receive up to two years in prison.

South Dakota currently allows abortions until the 24th week of pregnancy. Later abortions are allowed only if the health or lives of women are endangered.

Another bill signed by Rounds tightens the state's parental notification law to require parents to be told within 24 hours if their minor daughter receives an emergency abortion to protect her life or health. The minor could seek an exception through a court order.

A fourth new law establishes a state task force to study the history of abortion since 1973 and to see if other laws need changing. Abortion opponents said science, medicine and technology have changed considerably since the Roe v. Wade (news - web sites) decision.

About 800 abortions are done each year in South Dakota.

originally published Mar 17, 2005