Abortion Ban Rejected By Senate Committee
February 21, 2007, 4:50 PM
State representatives passed it with flying colors, but Wednesday a Senate Affairs committee brought a proposed abortion ban to a halt. The measure to ban most abortions has exceptions for rape, incest, and the life and health of the mother. But lawmakers in the committee don't think it would stand up in court and voted it down eight to one.
Some of the Senators who voted in favor of last year's ban opposed this latest bill against because they don't believe it will ever become law. That includes Senator Brock Greenfield, the Director of the South Dakota Right to Life. He was one of several who spoke out against the bill.
Much of Wednesday's debate brought out familiar arguments on both sides of the abortion issue.
HB 1293 Supporter Rory King says, "For every woman that has an abortion, for every baby this is aborted, there is a woman who carries a devastating emotional impact of legalized emotional impact of legalized abortion."
But this time the arguments against the ban were enough to keep it from moving forward in the legislature.
HB 1293 Opponent Kate Looby says, "Criminalizing abortion in South Dakota will not eliminate abortion it will simply make it unsafe, unregulated, and drive it underground or out of state."
While lawmakers views on abortion didn't change, their support for a new ban did, as they considered the battle this bill could face in the courts.
HB 1293 Opponent Republican Senator Brock Greenfield of Clark says, "My concern lies in that after being upheld by a vote in 2006 this bill will ever become law. Based on my extensive research and subsequent contemplation I do not believe there is any chance that it will."
Senator Brock Greenfield is also the Director of South Dakota Right to Life. Even having a pro-life stance, he believes lawmakers need to start focusing on other ways to prevent abortions rather than working to pass a ban that challenges the Supreme Court.
Greenfield says, "The burden is on us to set aside our pride and realize that we must heed a different lead as we work to save lives until the appointed time when Roe will be reversed."
The ban's supporters disagree saying a task force report on abortion shows this is the right time to challenge the courts, specifically with a ban containing exceptions.
King says, "The bill makes a dramatic challenge to Roe and Doe based on the findings of the task force report."
But supporters will now have to wait longer for that challenge to come.
Wednesday's eight to one vote against the ban hasn't discouraged the bill's main sponsor. He expects to see it debated again this session.
Republican Representative Gordon Howie of Rapid City says, ""I believe that there are representatives on the Senate side who have the passion for being on the right side of this issue who will rise up and call for a reconsideration."
A third of the full Senate would have to vote to reconsider the bill... and then a majority of Senators would have to vote in favor of putting it back on the calendar.
But state Senator Royal McCracken of Rapid City doesn't believe there are enough votes in the Senate to make that happen.
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