ROE -VS- WADE SHOWDOWN CLOSER
Anti-abortion supporters, whose cause was likely strengthed with the approval of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the United States Supreme Court, now have something else to crow about.
The South Dakota legislature Friday approved a bill banning nearly all abortions in the state effective July 1. The law has no provisions for exceptions in the case of rape or incest, only if necessary to save the life of the mother.
It was clear that the legislation is intended to force a U.S. Supreme Court showdown and possible review of it's landmark 1973 decision Roe -vs- Wade, which made most abortions legal across the USA. The Republican co-sponsor of the bill, State Representative Thomas J. Brunner, told CNN as much when he was quoted as saying "We're just proud to be the state that's leading this charge...The time is right."
Governor Mike Rounds (R), a devout Roman Catholic, has hinted he would sign the bill into law. He went a bit further than Brunner when he was quoted by the Rapid City Journal as saying:
“I do believe the goal we have in front of us should be the eventual elimination of abortion...I also recognize the probability of the court totally eliminating all abortions is very remote. But any movement we can make toward this ultimate goal would save lives...I personally think we will save more lives by continuing to chip away at Roe v. Wade one step at a time. But maybe this new court is more favorable to the elimination of the constitutional determinations that were made in the Roe decision,”
Brunner also admitted that the legislation "certainly flies in the face of current law," but that the state is prepared to take it to the high court, if necessary. Planned Parenthood, who operates the only abortion clinic in South Dakota, has promised to do just that.
The Seattle Times reported this morning:
During floor debate in the state Capitol in Pierre, one lawmaker said he had received word of an anonymous pledge of at least $1 million to help the state defend its ban. And I remember viewing one news report Friday noting that the governor has set up a defense fund to accept donations for that purpose.
Four other states are considering similar legislation, so it's clear that a direct challenge is not far off. Women and pro-choice advocates need to be ready to fight now, because what happened Friday in 'lil ol' Pierre, South Dakota has clearly started the ball rolling.
One interesting note: The newspaper in the South Dakota capital city, the Pierre Capital Journal, makes absolutely no mention of the bill in it's online edition today.