More abortion-related bills are on the docket in the South Dakota Legislature.
Senate Bill 203 would prohibit abortions unless “necessary to preserve the pregnant female’s life.” It would also make abortion a Class 1 felony, punishable by life imprisonment. (Currently, an illegal abortion is a Class 6 felony, which carries a penalty of up to two years in the state pen and/or a $2,000 fine.) The twist here is this law, if passed, would not be effective until the day “states are given the exclusive authority to regulate abortion.” While sponsored by 20 of 35 senators, “only” 33 of 70 representatives signed on as sponsors.
House Bill 1233 would create a 15-member, bipartisan group to study abortion and report to the Governor by December 1. While not overtly political, you have to wonder about some of the study group’s charges, which include examining “whether the unborn child is capable of experiencing physical pain.” Given the strength of the anti-abortion groups in SD politics, you also need to wonder how objective the study group would be.
I wish I knew the answer to this issue. What I do know is we are spending far too much time and legislative effort revisiting this battleground.
UPDATE: Another bill, HB 1249, would also prohibit abortions unless necessary to save the mother’s life. It, too, would not be effective until states exclusively regulate abortion.