States propose abortion bills to flout Roe v. Wade

The South Dakota state senate, on 2/22/2006, passed a bill (by a vote of 23-12) to make any abortion a felony except to save the life of the mother, even when the pregnancy results from rape or incest. Republican Governor Mike Rounds is likely to sign the bill as long as it does not preclude existing laws from being enforced while the new law is immediately challenged and probably enjoined.

Gov. Rounds signed the bill into law on March 6, 2006. Here is the bill: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2006/bills/HB1215p.htm

So far six states are considering similar laws, all intended to force a Supreme Court confrontation and re-airing of Roe v. Wade . "Pro-life" activists hope that the presence of  Judge Roberts and particularly Samuel Alito on the Court will cause the ruling to change. These states are

.South Dakota

.Ohio

.Indiana

.Georgia

.Tennessee

.Kentucky

In South Dakota, North Dakota, and Mississippi there is only one clinic (per state) that performs elective abortions, and only one day a week, from out of state doctors who travel, because of the stigma associated with abortion in these states.

Currently, in 2006, the Supreme Court will consider a federal partial birth abortion ban.

The most relevant recent case law is probably the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which maintains that states may not place an "undue burden" on legal abortion. This was based on a Pennsylvania case.

Recent source: Evelyn Nieves: "S.D. Abortion Bill Takes Aim at 'Roe': Senate Ban Does Not Except Rape, Incest," The Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2006. This will become a referendum H.B. 1215 in November 2006. See also Peter Slevin, The Washington Post, Aug. 28, 2006, "S.D. Becomes Abortion Focal Point: Voters to Decide Fate of State Ban."

On May 16, 2006 PBS broadcast the film "The Last Abortion Clinic," at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/clinic/view/

The Casey decision in the 1990s changed the standard on abortion from "trimesters" as in Roe v. Wade to an "undue burden" concept, so pro-life activists have passed laws in many states (the documentary focuses upon Mississippi) to burden women seeking abortions to test the limits of constitutionality.