PIERRE, S.D., March 6 (UPI) -- South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds Monday signed legislation outlawing most abortions, setting the stage for a new Supreme Court battle.
The legislation, effective July 1, threatens doctors with up to five years in prison for performing an abortion. The only exception is when a mother's life is in danger. The law also allows women to take contraceptive drugs -- so called morning-after pills -- before pregnancy has been established.
"Its purpose is to eliminate most abortions in South Dakota," Rounds said in a statement issued by his office. "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."
The bill is seen as the next salvo in the effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
KELO-TV, Sioux Falls, S.D., reports the state's Planned Parenthood chapter has yet to decide how it will challenge the new law. Director Kate Looby said the group may seek a statewide referendum on the issue rather than go through the courts.