Saturday, February 25, 2006

Are We Winning?

Original here.

Argus Leader

Article Published: 02/24/06, 12:26 pm
PIERRE – As the South Dakota House of Representatives gave final approval today to a bill aimed at banning most abortions and creating a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Gov. Mike Rounds said he’s inclined to sign it.

The House gave final approval to the bill with a 50-18 vote Friday afternoon.

At a press conference Friday morning, Rounds said he will sign the bill if he determines that it can save lives.

“I’ve indicated I’m pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives,” Rounds said. “If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law.”

But Rounds said he didn’t necessarily agree with the “frontal assault” tactic the bill takes to overturning the decision that legalized abortion.

“Personally, I think we will save more lives by continuing to chip away at Roe v. Wade,” he said.

The bill would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota. That’s unconstitutional under current U.S. Supreme Court rulings, and the goal of the legislation is to force the high court to take a fresh look at its 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

Both chambers of the Legislature now have passed the bill, and it could be delivered to the governor by early next week.

If Rounds signs the bill, abortion rights advocates have said they plan to file a lawsuit to keep it from taking effect July 1.

“I have to say I’m disappointed in the news that the governor has indicated he would sign the bill,” Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, said Thursday.

“We’re still hopeful he’ll hear the voices of women and families in South Dakota that say, ‘Please don’t sign this bill; please protect the health and safety of the women in this state.’ ”

Rounds said Friday that he would have 15 days to review the bill and make sure it does what sponsors say it does. Rounds could either sign the bill, exercise a couple of different veto options or allow the bill to pass without his signature.

“My inclination, once again, it sounds like a hedge when I say it, but truly we will look at the fine details in the bill to make sure it does what the sponsors intend it to do first,’’ he said.

Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, said he expects the governor to sign the measure into law.

“We’ve fixed his concerns from two years ago and fixed the contents of the bill,” Hunt said. “We’ll know within probably about 15 days, because that’s the time that he would have to file a veto.”

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