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Fetal-pain ban approved in South Dakota for abortions in week 20

PIERRE -- Most abortions performed in week 20 or later after fertilization would become a crime in South Dakota under a major change by the Legislature.

PIERRE - Most abortions performed in week 20 or later after fertilization would become a crime in South Dakota under a major change by the Legislature.

State senators gave final approval Wednesday 26-7 to the legislation. SB 72 now goes to the governor for his review.

Sen. Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre, was prime sponsor. His lead sponsor in the House was Rep. Isaac Latterell, R-Tea.

Their measure finds that unborn children can feel pain in week 20 of a pregnancy and makes an abortion unlawful at that point except for a medical emergency.

The House of Representatives passed the bill Monday 59-7. The House made changes that Monroe described as necessary to correct minor mistakes in the Senate version.

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Monroe was the only senator to speak on the matter Wednesday.

In the original version of his bill, Monroe wanted the crime to be a class 6 felony for the person performing the abortion punishable by up to two years in state prison.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee, on a motion by Sen. Bill Shorma, R-Dakota Dunes, changed it to a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The class 1 misdemeanor then remained in place.

The mother wouldn't be penalized.

The Senate originally passed its version 21-14 on Feb. 23.

The senators who changed from nays to ayes Wednesday included Democrats Jason Frerichs, of Wilmot and Bernie Hunhoff, of Yankton, and Republicans Blake Curd, of Sioux Falls, Scott Fiegen, of Dell Rapids, and Jim White, of Huron.

The seven nays Wednesday came from Democrats Jim Bradford, of Pine Ridge, Angie Buhl O'Donnell, of Sioux Falls, Troy Heinert, of Mission, and Scott Parsley, of Mission; and Republicans Deb Soholt, of Sioux Falls, Craig Tieszen, of Rapid City, and Mike Vehle, of Mitchell.

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A variety of other states have adopted versions of fetal-pain laws, according to several supporters in the Legislature here.

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