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S.D. Senate Bill to Ban Most Abortions

February 22, 2006

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) _ Legislation meant to prompt a national legal battle targeting Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, was approved Wednesday by the South Dakota Senate, moving the bill a step closer to final passage.

The measure, which would ban nearly all abortions in the state, now returns to the House, which passed a different version earlier. The House must decide whether to accept changes made by the Senate.

``It is the time for the South Dakota Legislature to deal with this issue and protect the lives and rights of unborn children,″ said Democratic Sen. Julie Bartling, the bill’s main sponsor.

Bartling and other supporters noted that the recent appointment of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito make the Supreme Court more likely to consider overturning Roe v. Wade.

President Bush, a Republican and an abortion foe, might also have a chance to appoint a third justice in the next few years, they said.

Opponents argued that the measure was too extreme because it would allow abortions only to save the lives of pregnant women.

The bill would make it a felony for doctors or others to perform abortions and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The measure passed the Senate 23-12.

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