Abortion ban immediate in South Dakota if Roe v. Wade overturned

While the leak of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is unexpected, South Dakota legislators put a trigger law into place seventeen years ago
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While the leak of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is unexpected, South Dakota legislators put a law into place seventeen years ago anticipating this very moment.

It’s called a trigger law, and South Dakota’s will ban abortion immediately if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

”Quite a few states, generally those that are more conservative, republican controlled have these types of laws on the book, ready to go, so that day one they’re able to have the sorts of abortion regulations that they would prefer,” said Lisa Hager, a political science professor at South Dakota State University.

Thirteen states have these types of trigger laws in place already. South Dakota’s would not only ban abortion, but deem it a Class 6 felony to provide one.

”Criminalizing abortion or making it illegal and it not being accessible doesn’t necessarily mean that abortions won’t happen,” said Hager.

It could mean that women will travel to states where it is legal, but Libby Skarin of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says that won’t be easy.

”In a scenario where we know that abortion is illegal in half the country, and there’s going to be a big demand to provide abortions in states where it’s legal, I think we are going to also see difficulty in people being able to get appointments,” said Skarin.

Skarin believes that allowing states to regulate abortion opens up the door for other restrictions.

”Things like banning people from going out of state for abortions, things like encroaching on surrogacy, things like coming after contraception and making contraception harder to access. There is evidence in state legislatures across the country and debates in the state legislature here in South Dakota that that is the vision many of our elected officials have,” said Skarin.

Skarin also says criminalizing abortion could put women who miscarry under investigation.

“I think that will put miscarriages or people having adverse pregnancy outcomes under scrutiny. I think we could see the possibility of people being arrested and prosecuted because of a miscarriage,” said Skarin.

The relevance of the 2005 trigger law is leading some to question is South Dakota’s opinon on abortion should be reevaluated.

“With these different trigger laws, given the fact that they were passed quite awhile ago, it is useful to kind of get a pulse of exactly what the public and the citizenry of any given state is thinking on this issue,” said Hager.

South Dakota’s trigger law on abortions states that there would be an exception for abortion only if there is medical judgement that it is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female.

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