News Law and Policy

Court Victory in South Dakota’s Misinformed Consent Law

Jodi Jacobson

Today the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out important provisions of a South Dakota law that literally forced doctors to lie to their patients.

Today the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out important provisions of a South Dakota law that literally forced doctors to lie to their patients.  The law, H.B. 1166, was enacted in 2005 and challenged in court by Planned Parenthood.  Labeled as an “informed consent law,” but deliberately mandating misinformation, it required doctors to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she faces an “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide,” a claim for which there is absolutely no scientific or medical evidence.

“As the major medical organizations have found, and as the court agreed today, said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “the scientific and medical evidence shows that women who choose abortion are not at increased risk for mental health problems,” 

“This law just one of many reprehensible barriers that South Dakota lawmakers have attempted to place between women and their access to safe, legal, reproductive health care.” 

According to a statement by Planned Parenthood, the Court of Appeals further clarified that a provision in the law that requires doctors to tell a woman that she “has a relationship with the fetus and that relationship is legally protected” simply requires doctors to explain “that the woman seeking abortion is legally and constitutionally protected against being forced to have an abortion.” 

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“Planned Parenthood has always stood for the right of women to make these decisions, and we are gratified by this result,” said Stoesz. “South Dakota voters twice have said at the polls that they do not want politicians interfering with these decisions, and we will continue to honor and defend their wishes.”

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