PIERRE, S.D. – A South Dakota bill to ban most abortions in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade appeared dead Wednesday after a state Senate committee rejected it.
The surprising 8-1 vote marked the third time in four years that measures to bar abortion in South Dakota were defeated. The Legislature passed an even stricter ban last year, but it was rejected by the voters in November.
Supporters had hoped to use the new law to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 ruling declaring the right to an abortion. Opponents argued the bill was so plainly unconstitutional the court probably wouldn't even consider the case.
State Rep. Gordon Howie, the bill's sponsor, said he would try to bring the bill to the full Senate anyway. But several senators said there were probably not enough votes to revive the bill.
Last week, the South Dakota House passed the measure 45-25. The bill would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape, incest, a threat of severe injury to a woman's health and to save a woman's life. In the bill that passed last year, the only exception was to save the mother's life.
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls is the only acknowledged abortion provider in South Dakota. About 800 abortions are done in the state each year.