AP -- PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation Monday banning nearly all abortions in South Dakota, setting up a court fight aimed at challenging the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless the procedure was necessary to save the woman's life. It would make no exception for cases of rape or incest.
Planned Parenthood, which operates the state's only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, has pledged to challenge the measure in court.
Rounds issued a written statement saying he expects the law will be tied up in court for years and will not take effect unless the U.S. Supreme Court upholds it.
"In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them," Rounds said in the statement.
The governor declined all media requests for interviews Monday.
The Legislature passed the bill last month after supporters argued that the recent appointment of conservative justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have made the U.S. Supreme Court more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"This is proof-positive that Gov. Rounds cares more about politics than about the health and safety of women in South Dakota," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood regional operations for Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, said in a statement Monday. "In every state, women, their families, and their doctors should be making private, personal health care decisions - not politicians."
South Dakota's abortion ban is to take effect July 1, but a federal judge is likely to suspend it during a legal challenge.
Abortion opponents donate money
Rounds has said abortion opponents already are offering money to help the state pay legal bills for the anticipated court challenge. Lawmakers said an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to defend the ban, and the Legislature set up a special account to accept donations for legal fees.
Under the new law, doctors could get up to five years in prison for performing an illegal abortion.
Rounds previously issued a technical veto of a similar bill passed two years ago because it would have wiped out all existing restrictions on abortion while the bill was tied up for years in a court challenge.
The statement he issued Monday noted that this year's bill was written to make sure existing restrictions will be enforced during the legal battle. Current state law sets increasingly stringent restrictions on abortions as pregnancy progresses. After the 24th week, the procedure is allowed only to protect the woman's health and safety.
About 800 abortions are performed each year in South Dakota. Planned Parenthood has said other women cross state lines to reach clinics.
The following message came from a private revelation that seer Jennifer said she received from Jesus on 12/31/05. The entire message can be viewed online at www.wordsfromjesus.com. This message is for your discernment.
“My people, thisworld will not rest from war, disease and famine for My people will soon face great devastation for the number of My little ones killed through abortion. When you reject the fifth Commandment you reject the first Commandment. You have become a world that is passive to sin, passive to evil. This world will arise from its slumber for the new day is on the horizon for I am Jesus. Now go forth in My mercy and love for justice will soon prevail. “
Prayer for Families
Father of love and mercy, send the precious blood of your son Jesus to cover our hearts and bestow upon us your grace and love. Strengthen our minds and hearts that in our daily work we may imitate your son Jesus who by his passion, death and resurrection has brought salvation to all mankind. We ask for the powerful intercession of all the holy angels and saints through Jesus Christ our king and merciful Savior. Amen.
Louisiana's abortion law
Louisiana is one of 3 states that have declared that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is to be prohibited. The state has declared that their policy is to protect the unborn as persons under state law. They also have a resolution in opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act, a proposed federal law that would protect Roe v. Wade. According to the most current abortion statistics available, Louisiana abortion clinics report about 12,000 abortions a year. However, these statistics are considered low because of the extensive problem of under-reporting by clinics. Currently, 3,900 babies die from abortion every day in America - one every 22 seconds. Each year, over 1.4 million infants die from abortion.