A new abortion ban has cleared it's first hurdle in the South Dakota legislature. House Bill 1293 is different from the measure voters rejected in November because it contains exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother.
The new bill had plenty of support today. It passed the House State Affairs committee by a vote of 10 to 3...after just over an hour of testimony from both sides of this controversial issue.
A ban on abortions is something the South Dakota legislature has debated every year for the past few sessions. Some say it's too soon to discuss another ban because voters rejected one just three months ago, but supporters disagree.
HB 1293 supporter Rory King says, "Some say the time isn't right for this legislation. Some say we need a rest from the intensity of the debate and divisiveness we've seen over the last couple of years. It's my vies that it's always time to do what's right."
Opponents of the ban with exceptions say the public doesn't want this debate so soon after an election. They think lawmakers should focus on more important issues.
HB 1293 opponent Suzan Nolan says, "I'm very aggieved that we're talking about abortion again, and again, and again when we could be spending this time talking about education and minimum wage."
Critics of the bill say it would hurt victims of rape and incest because it would force them to report and re-live the incident before having an abortion...and turn abortion clinics into crime scenes.
HB 1293 opponent David Gerdes says, "In effect go beyond simple reporting by physicians and require them to become law enforcement agents."
But the bill's supporters say the legislature needs to continue to look at the issue and put a stop abortions in South Dakota.
King says, "Don't stop now. Don't be defeated by what we saw in the last election."
There was an amendment added to the ban Monday saying that if the legislature passes it and the Governor signs it, it would automatically be put on the next general election ballot to be voted on before it would go into law.
The bill will now make it's way to the full House for debate.