.- Attaining the “goal of justice” has to be a top priority for all legislators, said a national pro-life leader in view of the recent 8-1 vote of a South Dakota Senate committee to defer consideration of a bill to prohibit most abortions.
"The task of restoring protection to the unborn child is in a different category than any other legislative consideration," said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.
"It directly pertains to the most fundamental demands of justice and human rights,” he continued. “Whatever path we take to get to that goal, reaching the goal of justice for all has to be the top priority of every legislator and citizen."
A South Dakota Senate committee on Wednesday rejected the bill, which passed in the Legislature last week with a 45-25 vote. The bill would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape, incest, a threat of severe injury to a woman's health and to save a woman's life. Supporters had hoped to use the new law to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 ruling declaring the right to an abortion.
State Rep. Gordon Howie, the bill's sponsor, said he would try to bring the bill to the full Senate anyway, reported the Associated Press.
The bill could be forced out of committee with a one-third vote of the full Senate, but even key supporters are not hopeful that the bill would not survive a court challenge.
Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, called abortion “a scourge on South Dakota,” and he called HB1293 a “noble effort.” But he also said the bill would not withstand a court challenge. “I do not believe there is any chance it will,” he said.
Greenfield, who also is chairman of South Dakota Right to Life, is not on the committee, but he testified as an opponent to the new ban.
This is the third time in four years that measures to restrict abortion in South Dakota were defeated.
Last year, the Legislature passed an even stricter ban, in which the only exception was to save the mother's life, but it was rejected by the voters in November.