By Dave Andrusko
I like to think I keep fairly close tabs on a lot of what happens in the states so when I read the headline “South Dakota resumes abortions after 7-month hiatus.” it threw me for a loop. The good news—or the better news—is that while this is true, it is accurate in only a very limited sense.
The story ran yesterday but in fact the very limited restarting goes back to October, as a different story by pro-abortion CBS News reporter Kate Smith made clear.
What’s actually happened? Prior to the pandemic, Sioux Falls Planned Parenthood, South Dakota’s only abortion clinic, operated one day a week, Smith reported. But for this and other reasons, “After years of flying out-of-state doctors to its lone health center in Sioux Falls, Planned Parenthood halted abortion services” in March. (Smith, as is her wont, celebrated how a new group was providing subsidies so some women could go elsewhere to abort their babies.)
“Abortion services resumed in October, but only for one day a month,” Smith reported, “Sarah Stoesz, who leads the clinic, says there aren’t enough appointments for everyone that’s called to request one. Instead, they’ve had to tell patients to wait until the next month or go out of state. She says she’s sure that not everyone who wants an abortion in South Dakota is able to get one.
“’People assume that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and that means that if they need help they can get help, but that’s not true in places like South Dakota,’ said Stoesz in a telephone interview.”
South Dakota is a very pro-life state with a very pro-life governor. Smith reports that South Dakota was ahead of the curve. “South Dakota has been on the forefront of those laws, passing regulations years before they become mainstream in the anti-abortion rights movement, according to Elizabeth Nash, who tracks abortion regulations at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive research group that supports abortion rights. Since Roe v. Wade, lawmakers in the Mount Rushmore state have enacted 38 restrictions, many of which were authored and championed by South Dakota state senator Jeff Monroe. ”
Smith conducted a telephone interview with Sen. Monroe who stated flatly, “I like babies, and I like them alive, not dead.”
The Catholic News Agency [CNA] reported “Last year, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law several new pro-life bills. Among other requirements, these laws mandate that women be provided with an ultrasound image of their baby and sign a consent form before an abortion.”
Those many pieces of protective legislation have made a huge difference. “According to the South Dakota Department of Health’s annual report, the number of abortions in South Dakota has decreased from 848 in 2008 to 414 in 2019,” according to CNA.