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by Desiree Ramirez, Women's Life editor

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.



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