OR: Why South Dakota Rocks!
South Dakota, those on both sides of the abortion debate agree, has become one of the hardest states in the country in which to obtain an abortion. One of three states in the country to have only one abortion provider -- North Dakota and Mississippi are the others -- South Dakota, largely because of a strong antiabortion lobby, is also becoming a leading national laboratory for testing the limits of state laws restricting abortion, both opponents and advocates of abortion rights say.
In 2005, the South Dakota legislature passed five laws restricting abortion, after a bill to ban abortion outright had failed by one vote in 2004. And new laws are virtually assured for the coming year. A 17-member abortion task force, made up largely of staunch abortion opponents, issued recommendations to the legislature earlier this month that included some of the most restrictive requirements for abortion in the country.
The report states that science defines life as beginning at conception and recommends a law that gives fetuses the same protection that children get after birth, thus banning abortion. Until such a ban, the task force recommends requiring that a woman watch an ultrasound of her fetus, that doctors warn women about the psychological and physical dangers of abortion, and that women receive psychological counseling before the abortion, among other measures.
One law passed in South Dakota this year is an informed-consent measure that requires doctors to tell women in writing and in person two hours before an abortion of the medical risks of the procedure and that an abortion ends the life of "a whole, separate, unique living human being." Enforcement of the law has been blocked by a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood.
Another measure is a "trigger law" that automatically bans all abortions in the state should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
Go South Dakota!