S.D. Senate kills abortion bill Monday PIERRE (CNS) � Gov. Mike Rounds said he was surprised March 15 when senators failed to approve changes he made to a bill banning most abortions in the state.
HB1191 was heavily debated during the Legislature's main run, but it passed both houses. Rounds then issued a style and form veto of the bill, which means he wanted lawmakers to make technical changes before he signed it into law. Lawmakers returned to Pierre March 15 to consider Rounds' vetoes.
"I was disappointed it fell one vote short in the Senate," he said.
It was widely assumed HB1191 would be challenged in court. Supporters looked at it as a way to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Rounds said in his veto message that if 1191 were eventually declared unconstitutional and repealed, other state laws regulating abortions also could be in jeopardy. He said his changes corrected that problem.
"House Bill 1191, as written, does not clearly preserve the major aspect of South Dakota's present, albeit limited, ability to regulate abortion if this law is challenged as expected," he said in his veto message.
The governor's changes easily passed the House, but the bill was held up in the Senate where it only narrowly passed the first time. Rounds told reporters that when lawmakers met the night before the final legislative day, the bill's Senate sponsor, Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, thought they had 19 votes — one more than was needed to approve Rounds' changes.
"Somewhere along the line they lost those votes," he said.
Rounds said he respected individuals on both sides of the issue "who truly believe in life."
The bill divided South Dakota's Right to Life activists because some them thought the legislation endangered future attempts to get rid of Roe v. Wade.
"After reviewing the bill I felt this would be the time if the bill was corrected � first of all to make sure it did not do any harm by eliminating these laws that were currently on the books," Rounds said.
Senators argued the bill was obviously unconstitutional and that Rounds' style and form veto went too far. The state constitution limits extent of the style and form changes a governor can make.
"We know this bill is unconstitutional, but yet we want to move it forward," Sen. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, said. "I for one will have no part of it."
Sen. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, argued that all the bill did was make a statement.
"It will not prevent one abortion in South Dakota," he said. "There is no doubt that it will be declared unconstitutional before it even becomes effective for a single day."
Knudson predicted the estimated $1 million cost to the state of defending the bill's legal challenges would likely go to National Abortion Rights League lawyers for bringing and winning the lawsuit. He also said the fact that the bill lacked an exception for rape and incest sent the wrong message.
"This failure to provide any relief for victims of rape and incest is 'not a good thing,'" Knudson said.
The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Matt McCaulley, R-Sioux Falls, placed some of the responsibility for its failure with Rounds.
"The governor vetoed the bill," McCaulley said. "There was not the support in the Senate to sustain his veto."
McCaulley, whose wife is expecting their first child, will not run for reelection to the Legislature next year. He was uncertain whether the bill would be reintroduced.
"The fate next year is uncertain," he said.
But he was sure of one thing.
"Abortion on demand will continue to be legal."
That means another 800 abortions will likely be performed in the state before the Legislature meets again, McCaulley said.
"Another 800 unborn victims plus pregnant mothers that lose that baby," he said.