NewsHour Looks at South Dakota Abortion Ban

Ian

In case you missed it, NewsHour did a segment on the South Dakota anti-abortion law that voters will considered in a ballot initiative this fall. It's from March of this year.

In case you missed it, NewsHour did a segment on the South Dakota anti-abortion law that voters will considered in a ballot initiative this fall. It’s from March of this year.

Thanks to Feministing for the tip.

For more on the South Dakota initiative, check out Kate Looby’s blog — Kate is the South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and will be blogging on this site during the election season.

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News Abortion

Unconstitutional Abortion Ban Sails Through South Carolina Legislature

Teddy Wilson

Alyssa Miller, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement that the anti-choice bill is “dangerous” and “made even more extreme” by the lack of exceptions.

South Carolina legislators on Tuesday passed a bill prohibiting abortion care at 20 weeks’ gestation, which the bill’s sponsor told the Associated Press is another step toward getting “rid of abortion altogether.”

Courts have struck down as unconstitutional similar GOP-backed bills that seek to ban abortion care after or around 20 weeks’ gestation in three states: Arizona, Georgia, and Idaho.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is expected to sign the bill.

H 3114, sponsored by Rep. Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville), bans abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization unless, in a physician’s judgment, abortion care is necessary to avert the patient’s death or a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” other than a psychological condition.

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The bill, at first, contained no exception for medical emergency, rape, incest, and fetal anomaly. The house amended the bill to include such exceptions. The state senate amended it to strip the exceptions from the bill.

The final bill includes no exceptions for rape or incest, but has an exception for cases of severe fetal anomalies as well as medical emergency.

The state house approved the compromise bill Tuesday with a 79-29 vote. The senate approved it, 36-9.

Nanney told Reuters that she supports the radical anti-choice measure based on the debunked theory that a fetus can experience pain.

“I believe that life begins at conception and every step we can take to get back to that point is important,” Nanney said. “In my view and many others it’s inhumane to subject that baby to pain at 20 weeks.”

The bill is based on copycat legislation authored by the legislation mill known as the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). It justifies the measure on the theory that a fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks has been discredited by medical professionals.

Hospitals in South Carolina are the only facilities in which people seeking to terminate a pregnancy at 20 weeks or later could obtain abortion care today. South Carolina’s three abortion clinics do not provide the procedure past 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Rep. James Smith (D-Richland) told the Associated Press that there are “wanted pregnancies” during which the pregnant person discovers a terrible abnormality.

“Wouldn’t it be interesting if we take dollar-for-dollar the money we’re going to spend litigating unconstitutional bills and put it into something that makes a difference in South Carolina?” Smith asked.

Alyssa Miller, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement that the bill is “dangerous” and “made even more extreme” by the lack of exceptions.

“The reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare and often takes place in complex and difficult situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available,” Miller said.

South Carolina is set to become the 17th state to ban abortion care at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. South Dakota in March passed a similar bill.

News Abortion

Abortion ‘Reversal’ Misinformation Is South Dakota Policy, Thanks to GOP

Michelle D. Anderson

“Our state is among the most difficult states in the nation for women to access abortion care .... With an overabundance of barriers and hoops to jump through, abortion has become nearly impossible to access for many women,” University of South Dakota senior Kerstin Tuttle wrote about the anti-choice measure just signed into law.

People seeking medication abortion care in South Dakota will be given misinformation about how to “reverse” the procedure after the state’s Republican governor signed a bill into law mandating that doctors dispense inaccurate information promoted by anti-choice groups.

The measure, HB 1157, requires doctors to provide pregnant people with “additional information” about medication abortion as part of the state’s so-called informed consent process.

The required information includes a statement, one not based on medical evidence, that a pregnant person can discontinue a mifepristone-induced abortion by not taking the misoprostol with which it is typically prescribed. The law requires the state’s health department website to disseminate information about the so-called reversal process.

Both mifepristone and misoprostol appear on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

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South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed the bill into law on March 29, amending the state’s abortion care regulations.

Rep. Leslie Heinemann (R-Flandreau), vice chair of the house Health and Human Services Committee, introduced the anti-choice measure in January. Heinemann, a dentist by trade, argued that it was lawmakers’ responsibility to give South Dakota citizens the opportunity to stop the abortion process if they changed their minds, according to an Associated Press report.

The concept of “abortion reversal” is based on a 2012 paper published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. The paper claimed that medication abortions were reversed among four of six women included in the study. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which represents 58,000 OB-GYNs and women’s health-care professionals, has questioned the veracity of the study and charged that public policy should not be based on the 2012 paper.

As part of the so-called informed consent law that was approved in 2005, South Dakota requires physicians to obtain informed written consent of the pregnant person before an abortion can be performed.

The consent process requires doctors to relay disclosures to people seeking abortion care, including more than 20 statements ranging from medical risks to contentions that the aborted fetus represents “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

A federal appeals court in 2012 upheld South Dakota’s “informed consent” law, which includes required disclosures that people seeking abortion care may face increased risk of depression and suicide ideation.

Overwhelming research and evidence shows that there is no link between receiving abortion care and experiencing depression or suicide. A 2011 literature review published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges charged that it was “unwanted pregnancy [that] was associated with an increased risk of mental health problems.”

Kerstin Tuttle, a senior at the University of South Dakota, criticized HB 1157 before it was signed into law in a column published by the Argus Leader in February.

Tuttle, a member of the university Association for the Advancement of Women’s Rights and Students for Reproductive Rights, outlined her experience attending the legislative session for HB 1157, saying the meeting revealed state lawmakers’ “obsession with abortion, or, more specifically, with limiting abortion.”

“Our state is among the most difficult states in the nation for women to access abortion care …. With an overabundance of barriers and hoops to jump through, abortion has become nearly impossible to access for many women,” Tuttle wrote.

The university student said that the GOP-backed misinformation was not medically accurate or supported by any legitimate science.

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