National Lawyers Guild

MARCH 8, 2006
12:23 PM

CONTACT:  National Lawyers Guild
Michael Avery, NLG President, 617-573-8551
Andrea Costello, Co-Chair, Anti-Sexism Committee, 352-271-8890

National Lawyers Guild Calls for the Impeachment of South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds for Signing Anti-Abortion Legislation

WASHINGTON - March 8 - The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for the impeachment of South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds for signing a bill that would effectively outlaw abortion in South Dakota. The Governor and proponents of the law have openly declared that the law is intended as “a direct frontal assault” to Roe v. Wade. The NLG opposes this unconstitutional action by Governor Rounds. We call for his immediate impeachment and for the law not to be implemented.

The South Dakota law violates a woman’s clearly established right to abortion and self -determination, articulated decades ago by the Supreme Court. The law makes it a felony for health providers to perform abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, unless a women’s life is in jeopardy. Approximately 800 women per year obtain abortions in the state. This law attempts to prohibit women from exercising their ability to control their lives and make a decision about if, when, and under what circumstances to have a child. Instead, women will be forced to travel, take off work and school, and spend extraordinary amounts of money in seeking out-of-state abortion providers. No woman in the U.S. should be subject to those conditions.

NLG President Michael Avery said, "The legislators and the governor of South Dakota have violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. Local officials are obliged to follow the law as declared by the Supreme Court and are not entitled to repeatedly violate the law in the hope that the Court may change its rulings."

With the appointment of conservative Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Court, the South Dakota Governor hopes to force a legal battle to challenge Roe. v. Wade. Legislatures in at least ten other states are considering abortion bans. In Mississippi, the House passed a ban last week and the governor has said he will sign it into law. The Guild denounces these assaults on women’s rights.

“It’s long past the time for the states to end their campaigns of trying to restrict a women’s right to choose and attempt to make decisions for us. Women need more publicly funded services such as abortion, contraception, parental leave and child care, not less,” according to NLG Anti-Sexism Committee co-chairs, Andrea Costello and Kerry McLean.

The National Lawyers Guild is a bar association founded in 1937 and comprising over 6,000 members and activists in the service of the people. Its national office is headquartered in New York and it has chapters in nearly every state, as well as over 100 law school chapters.