On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court decided that a woman had a legal right to an abortion. The case was Roe v. Wade, and the vote was 7 to 2. That decision has become one of the most controversial ever issued by the Court. Americans who feel strongly on either side of the issue are divided into two camps. They are generally known as pro-life and pro-choice.
On March 6, 2006, South Dakota became the latest U.S. state to challenge Roe v. Wade. In the years following the Court decision, there have been other attempts to eat away at the abortion law, such as laws passed in Rhode Island in 1973 and in Louisiana and Utah in 1991. The law in South Dakota makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state even in cases of rape or incest.
South Dakota is already one of the most difficult states in which to get an abortion. It has only one abortion clinic. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls schedules abortions once a week. About eight hundred are performed each year by four visiting doctors. They fly in from Minnesota on a rotating basis. South Dakota's doctors have been reluctant to perform abortions because of the antiabortion sentiment in the state.