By Skyler Lee
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) has signed a long list of pro-life bills into law since she’s become governor and she’s once again shown that life matters in the state of South Dakota.
It was announced on Friday, March 26, 2021, that Noem signed not one but four pro-life bills into law.
The bills include:
HB 1110: House Bill 1110 bans abortions based on a diagnosis or screening indicating the child may have or does have Down syndrome with the exception of when continuing the pregnancy would constitute a medical emergency and threaten the life of the mother.
Currently, some estimates say two out of three Down syndrome diagnosed pregnancies in the United States end in an abortion. However, the bill should have wide support since a recent poll found 70 percent of Americans oppose abortion based on a Down syndrome diagnosis including over half (56 percent) of those who identify as “pro-choice.”
SB 183: Senate Bill 183 is entitled, “An act to declare certain contract provisions regarding abortion as unenforceable and to provide a penalty therefor.” This bill will help prevent coerced abortion and prohibit surrogates from being forced to undergo an abortion if the biological parents try to insist on such.
The text states in part:
A provision in a contract is void and unenforceable if it in any way:
- Coerces, compels, or attempts to compel a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion;
- Results in a breach of any terms of the contract if a pregnant woman refuses to undergo an abortion; or
- Results in a pregnant woman assuming any cost, obligation, or responsibility for refusing to undergo an abortion.
HB 1114: House Bill 1114 provides an exact definition of abortion, as well as other related terms, to prevent confusion in any bills. The bill defines abortion as specifically “the intentional termination of the life of a human being in the uterus.”
It also defines medical emergency, a common exception to abortion laws in South Dakota as, “any condition which, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
In its defining of abortion the bill will prevent natural miscarriages or a miscarriage resulting from providing life-saving treatment to the mother, such as chemotherapy, as being counted as abortion under any abortion law.
HB 1130: House Bill 1130 requires a physician to inform women seeking an abortion of several key aspects of the procedure including information about the “discontinuance of a drug-induced abortion” to ensure voluntary and informed consent. The bill states consent to an abortion is not voluntary and informed, unless, in addition to any other information that must be disclosed under the common law doctrine, the physician provides the pregnant woman with a written statement including, but not limited to, the following:
- Information regarding the fact it’s possible to discontinue a drug-induced abortion even after taking Mifepristone by not taking the prescribed Misoprostol;
- The following verbiage: “If you decide you want to give birth to your child, even after the abortion process has begun, seek the assistance of a physician immediately” as well as the phone number, website, and any other contact information to physicians or entities who have “indicated their ability or willingness to provide assistance, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, to a woman seeking to discontinue an abortion.”;
- A statement that abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;
- The probable gestational age of the child along with scientifically accurate information about the fetal development at such age;
- A description of all known medical risks of the procedure including statistically significant risk factors of post-abortive women including depression, suicide ideation, and other psychological distress, as well as an accurate rate of deaths caused by abortion;
- The statistically significant medical risk associated with carrying to term as compared to undergoing an abortion;
- A statement that sex-selective abortions are illegal in South Dakota;
- The phone number of an organization fighting to end sex trafficking and the statement: “If someone is sexually abusing you or causing you to exchange sex for something of value, and you want help, call 911, text, or call the number provided on this notice.”
The bill, which can be read in full HERE, would require the pregnant woman to sign each page of the written disclosure with the certification that she understands and has read the statements before signing a consent form for the procedure.
An exception to this bill is if the physician determines obtaining informed consent is impossible due to a medical emergency to prevent delaying saving the life of the mother.
The signing of these four bills comes just after Noem signed HB 1051, which requires physicians to provide medical attention to any child who is born alive during an abortion, just last month.
The bills also follow another list of pro-life legislation she signed in 2019.
Noem said in a press release of the bill banning abortion based a Down syndrome diagnosis and the other accompanying three pro-life bills:
“I look forward to the day when the Supreme Court recognizes that all preborn children inherently possess this right to life, too. Until that time comes, I am pleased to sign a ban on the abortion of a preborn child, just because that child is diagnosed with Down syndrome, as well as several other important pro-life bills.”