ALEX CHADWICK, host:
This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
I'm Madeleine Brand. Another attempt in South Dakota to ban most abortions. Lawmakers today introduced a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions. Opponents of abortion hope this new bill will accomplish what a previous one did not. Last year, the state legislature and the governor approved a measure outlawing abortions in all cases, except to save the life of the mother. It would have been the strictest anti-abortion legislation in the country. South Dakota voters thought it was too restrictive. Last November, they rejected the bill.
Brock Greenfield is a state senator. He's also the director of South Dakota Right to Life. He supported the previous stricter bill, and opposes the current legislation. He says because it includes more exceptions.
State Senator BROCK GREENFIELD (Republican, South Dakota; Director, South Dakota Right to Life): One issue that I have to wrestle with is whether or not, you know, it's appropriate to include exceptions. We brought people out to our state convention this year here in South Dakota who had been conceived in rape, who had been conceived in incest, and who had - a girl who had conceived in rape and has chosen to give life to her child and to parent her child. And on some very profound levels, I feel as though this bill is a slap in their faces.
BRAND: So you don't think it goes far enough?
State Sen. GREENFIELD: Well, I understand that this is more politically palatable. But at the same time, you have to realize that there are some sense of embarrassment that we, pro-lifers, who stood strong in opposition to some of the exceptions in the previous year's bill, now we're the ones rallying behind those exceptions and looking to hurry them, you know, through the process and get another statute on the books.
BRAND: Many polls conducted in your state, in South Dakota, have found that voters would have supported a bill such as the one that is being introduced now - a bill that would ban abortions with exceptions. So, wouldn't you like to have this rather than nothing at all?
State Sen. GREENFIELD: I would like to support legislation that I believe has a strong likelihood of saving lives. And that certainly does include a bill such as this, if it meets muster of the courts at some point in the future. But you know, the November election not only told us here in South Dakota that you're going to have to include some exceptions and give them, you know, give those exceptions thorough thought as you proceed, but the November elections were also bad - as far as I'm concerned - for the pro-life community, given the change in the political climate out in D.C.
BRAND: So if I understand you correctly, you're afraid that this might not withstand court scrutiny? That it'll be struck down on constitutional grounds.
State Sen. GREENFIELD: That's absolutely one of the biggest concerns. Prior to November, I was very hopeful that the bill would be upheld, that the U.S. Senate would remain in the hands of people who were amiable to confirming a pro-life or a strict constructionist to the court. And that simply didn't happen. And that does really stand out as a strong reason to just hold off and decide strategically what is the best way to proceed.
BRAND: That's State Senator Brock Greenfield, speaking to us from Pierre, South Dakota about a new abortion bill that a group of lawmakers have introduced, banning abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and to protect the life and health of the mother.
And thank you very much, Brock Greenfield.
State Sen. GREENFIELD: You're welcome. Thank you very much.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.