- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2005

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Michael Rounds has signed a series of bills that further tighten state abortion restrictions, his office announced yesterday.

One of the four new laws requires doctors to inform pregnant women, in writing and in person, no later than two hours before an abortion that the procedure ends the lives of humans and terminates the constitutional relationship women have with their unborn children.

Women also must be told that some women die during abortions and that the procedure can lead to depression and other problems.

Supporters said the law will ensure that women seeking abortions fully understand what they are doing. Opponents said medical privacy would be undermined, and they are considering possible lawsuits before the law takes effect July 1.

Mr. Rounds, a Republican elected in 2002, also signed a bill that automatically will ban most abortions in South Dakota if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and gives states the authority to prohibit abortion. The only exceptions would be cases in which a woman’s life is in danger. Doctors who perform illegal abortions could receive up to two years in prison.

South Dakota allows abortions until the 24th week of pregnancy. Later abortions are allowed only if the health or lives of the women are endangered.

Another bill signed by Mr. Rounds tightens the state’s parental-notification law to require parents to be told within 24 hours if their minor daughter receives an emergency abortion to protect her life or health. The minor could seek an exception through a court order.

A fourth new law establishes a state task force to study the history of abortion since 1973 and to determine whether other laws need to be changed. Pro-life groups said science, medicine and technology have changed considerably since the Roe v. Wade decision.

About 800 abortions are performed each year in South Dakota.

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