South Dakota has decided to ask the courts to reconsider their ruling against a regulation that forces doctors to tell women undergoing an abortion that terminating a pregnancy will make her more likely to commit suicide.
Why? Because no one can prove it doesn’t increase the risk for suicide for absolutely every woman.
“As the major medical organizations have found, and as the appeals court agreed, the scientific and medical evidence shows that women who choose abortion are not subjected to an increased risk of mental health problems,” Aulwes said.
Harold Cassidy, a lawyer for the anti-abortion organizations including Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, did not return messages for comment Friday.
“Even if (Planned Parenthood) could prove that there may be a small subset of pregnant women who are not at risk, Planned Parenthood would not know who they are,” he said in Friday’s petition.
The Alpha Center is asking to assist in the rehearing, possibly so that “you’re gonna want to kill yourself if you do this” can be one of their talking points if the “72 hour waiting period and forced counseling sessions with an anti-choice pregnancy center” law ever gets out of limbo.
“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.
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 ofPharmacotherapy.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.”
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.
According to NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota executive director Alisha Sedor, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota’s local South Dakota has informed her organization that if HB 1237 goes into effect, the provider may no longer be able to offer terminations in the state.
“After consideration and conversations with our coalition partners, we have determined that the impact of this legislation is worse than we originally thought,” Sedor told Rewire. “H.B.1237, if passed, will severely limit access to abortion in South Dakota, making it virtually impossible for women to access needed reproductive health-care. The measure could make it impossible for the state’s only comprehensive women’s health clinic to continue providing abortion services, effectively banning abortion in South Dakota.”
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That was no doubt exactly the intention behind the bill, which would in essence stretch the forced waiting period anywhere from five days to a full week for women seeking safe abortion care, conditions it would be too onerous for the provider to accommodate because a doctor flies into South Dakota from out-of-state to serve patients. Should the bill pass, that could be exactly what occurs.