Abortions now illegal in South Dakota following Supreme Court’s ruling

South Dakota (file image)
South Dakota (file image)(MGN Online)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 9:55 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It is now illegal to perform an abortion in South Dakota following a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court.

The justices overturned Roe v. Wade in a decision Friday, effectively ending federal protections for abortion rights.

South Dakota is one of 13 states with a so called “trigger law” banning abortions the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. South Dakota’s law not only bans abortions, but deems it a class 6 felony to provide one. Class 6 felonies are punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a $4,000 fine.

The only exception in South Dakota’s law, which the legislature passed in 2005, is if there is an “appropriate and reasonable medical judgement” that an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the mother.

Gov. Kristi Noem’s office issued a statement shortly after the ruling saying she, along with several state lawmakers, will call for a special legislative session later this year to potentially expand on the state’s abortion laws.

The statement, jointly issued by Senate President Lee Schoenbeck and House Speaker President Pro Tempore Jon Hansen, did not specify what rules lawmakers may seek to codify - stating only that the legislature intends to make sure South Dakota law “protects the unborn and helps mothers.” The exact date of the special session will be decided after discussion with legislative leadership.

Noem tweeted in the wake of the ruling, saying “life wins.”

Other conservative lawmakers, including South Dakota Sen. John Thune, praised Friday’s ruling. His opponent in the upcoming election, Brian Bengs, issued a statement saying he was “appalled” by the court’s decision. The South Dakota Democratic Party also spoke out against the ruling.

Abortions in South Dakota

Abortion services effectively ended in South Dakota last week when Planned Parenthood paused abortions at its Sioux Falls facility, the only abortion provider in the state.

South Dakotans could still receive an abortion by traveling to another state where it is legal. Among neighboring states, only Minnesota and Montana have laws protecting abortion rights. North Dakota and Wyoming have trigger laws similar to South Dakota’s making abortion illegal. Abortion is legal in Nebraska, though there are restrictions, including a required 24-hour waiting period following counseling. In Iowa, abortion remains legal, but a court recently ruled the state’s constitution does not protect a fundamental right to an abortion, meaning the state’s conservative majority in the legislature is free to pursue more restrictive laws. Planned Parenthood also currently has a 24-hour waiting period in Iowa for an abortion following an initial appointment.

Minnesota. Gov. Tim Walz reaffirmed he will support abortion rights in a tweet Friday.

The number of abortions in South Dakota was on the decline in recent years. According to the Department of Health, there were 411 abortions in the state in 2016, and 423 the year after that. However, the number fell sharply in 2018, then dropped to just over 100 in 2020, the latest year for which data is available.


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