The bill’s supporters designed it to directly challenge
the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which in 1973
recognized the right of women to choose to terminate pregnancies.
They want to force a re-examination of the ruling by the court,
which includes two new justices, John G. Roberts and Samuel
A. Alito, both appointed by President Bush. Roberts has not
publicly expressed his view on abortion rights, but Alito opposed
Roe when working for the Regan administration. He has a mixed
record on abortion rights while he was a federal appeals court
judge, and he is the author of the current anti-choice strategy
of limiting abortion rights with hundreds of small regulations
such as parental-notification laws and waiting periods before
the procedure may be performed.
Rep. Roger W. Hunt, a Republican who sponsored the bill, is
pleased with the fact that abortion opponents succeeded in
defeating all amendments designed to mitigate the ban. Therefore,
a woman whose health is endangered, or women who are victims
of rape and incest are no exception to the ban. Hunt said that
such “special circumstances” would have diluted
the bill and its impact on the national scene. “The momentum
for change in the national policy on abortion is going to come
in the not-to-distant future,” said Hunt.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America plans to challenge
the ban immediately and is willing to seek an injuction to
block the law from coming into effect until the court battle
is over. Hunt says the ban’s supporters will be prepared
for a costly court fight with $1 million already pledged by
an “anonymous donor.” “Clearly this is a
devastating day for the women of South Dakota. We fully expected
this, yet it’s still distressing to know that this legislative
body cares so little about families, about women who are victims
of rape and incest,” said Kate Looby, director of Planned
Parenthood of South Dakota.
Planned Parenthood of South Dakota provides the only abortion
clinic in the state, offering the procedure once a week, and
serving about 800 women a year. Other states that have introduced
new abortion restrictions this year include Ohio, Indiana,
Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.