South Dakota bans abortions of pain-capable unborn children

13th state to enact the bill

By Dave Andrusko

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

And now it is official. Yesterday afternoon South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed SB72, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, into law.

On Monday the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of SB72, 59-7. On Wednesday the measure returned to the Senate, which had previously passed a slightly different version, and the Senate quickly concurred with the House bill.

Twelve states had previously enacted the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Republican Rep. Isaac Latterell, the measure’s main House sponsor, said it recognizes “the humanity of these children.”

“I think it’ll save lives because it lets women know that their children really are humans just like us,” Latterell said, according to the Associated Press. “I think it’s a great step forward, and I would like to see us do more to protect the innocent.”

Added Debbie Pease, of South Dakota Right to Life, “It’s a great day for South Dakota.”

In a statement, South Dakota Right to Life explained

The Governor has also signed into law HB1123, which requires the Department of Health to post on their website the date and results of their inspections of abortion clinics, and SB24, which strengthens the language regarding our ban on fetal body parts and provides a penalty.

South Dakota State Rep. Isaac Latterell

South Dakota State Rep. Isaac Latterell

First enacted in 2010 by the state of Nebraska, the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, drafted by National Right to Life’s Department of State Legislation, is legislation which protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.

There is widespread support for a bill like this one.

In a nationwide poll of 1,000 American adults conducted in July 2012, The Polling Company asked, “Unless an abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, do you think abortion should be permitted after the point where substantial medical evidence says that the unborn child can feel pain?” A majority, 63%, responded “no, abortion should not be permitted,” compared to just 21% who would allow abortion after the point at which the unborn child is capable of feeling pain.

“South Dakota now joins twelve other states in recognizing the humanity of the unborn child,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., National Right to Life director of state legislation. “The smallest and most vulnerable members of our human family need our protection, and South Dakota has taken a vital step to save unborn children who are capable of feeling the excruciating pain of abortions.”

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