ANN ARBOR, MI, January 26, 2004 ( – With legal assistance from the Thomas More Law Center, South Dakota State Representative Matt McCaulley introduced a bill Thursday making abortion a crime unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother. House Bill 1191, which already has the support of a majority in the state house and senate, directly confronts the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which gave women a constitutional right to abort their babies.

Representative McCaulley presented the legislation on the 31st anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, saying, “Medical and scientific discoveries over the last 30 years have confirmed that life begins at conception, a question the Roe Court said they could not answer.”

HB1192 provides for exceptions to protect the life of the mother if birth or continued pregnancy constitutes a clear and immediate threat of death to the mother or serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. The bill would make the crime of abortion punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.

Support for the legislation has been building during the past few days, with 47 representatives and 18 state senators co-sponsoring the bill. The bill is supported by majority leaders in both the house and the senate including the minority leader in the state senate. With the sponsors alone, the legislature has the majority votes needed to pass the bill. Once approved, HB1192 would ultimately be sent to South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds who has previously vowed to protect life under all circumstances.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, acknowledging the likely court battle that would ensue if the legislation is passed commented, “Roe v. Wade was an exercise of raw judicial power, not based on any reasonable interpretation of the Constitutional text. The Roe decision carries the same moral implications as the Dredd Scott decision that upheld slavery by regarding a segment of our population as non-persons. The Court was wrong then, and the court is wrong now. We have a moral responsibility to confront this lawless decision whenever the opportunity presents itself.”

With files from South Dakota Legislature


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