PIERRE | A South Dakota lawmaker says his bill to increase the penalty for performing abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy is not an attack against women because it would limit abortions of female fetuses.

The Argus Leader reports that Republican Rep. Steven Haugaard said Tuesday the bill is aimed at protecting women and girls.

Haugaard says that "half of the abortions include the death of a girl, so it's certainly not an attack against women."

The state House passed the bill Tuesday that would boost the penalty for performing most abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy from a misdemeanor to a felony.

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State law currently makes performing them a misdemeanor, except in medical emergencies.

The state's only abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, does not perform abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy.

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