FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Wednesday, June 27, 2012
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215
Key Requirements of Abortion Risk Disclosure Legislation to go into Effect July 1, 2012
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that a federal District Court has issued an Order which will allow key requirements of the South Dakota Legislature’s recent abortion legislation to go into effect. The legislation expands the requirement that risks of abortion be disclosed. Pursuant to the 2011 and 2012 legislation and the Order, beginning July 1, 2012, doctors who perform abortions must assess each woman for preexisting risk factors such as coercion and must advise the woman about the risk of adverse psychological outcomes. The Order lifts an injunction issued last year against provisions of the 2011 abortion statutes.
The 2011 statutes were designed to ensure that a woman’s consent to have an abortion is voluntary, uncoerced and informed. Among other things, the 2011 law requires doctors performing abortions to first meet with the woman and assess whether she has any preexisting risk factors for adverse psychological outcomes from an abortion. The doctor must also assess whether the woman has been coerced to have an abortion. The 2011 law also imposes a 3-day waiting period between the time the doctor meets with the woman and the actual procedure, and requires the woman to consult with a pregnancy help center.
Planned Parenthood sued the State in federal court over the 2011 legislation, and on June 30, 2011, the court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing most of the provisions, pending the outcome of litigation on the merits of the case.
During the 2012 session, the Legislature amended several portions of the 2011 abortion legislation. Planned Parenthood then amended its complaint, continuing its challenge against portions of the amended act regarding the pregnancy help centers and the 3-day delay, and dropping its challenge to the amended provisions regarding coercion and risk-factor assessment. As a result, the parties to the litigation stipulated to an Order that the coercion and risk-factor assessment provisions will go into effect on July 1. The remaining challenged provisions—the requirement for involvement of the pregnancy help centers and the 3-day delay—will continue to be enjoined pending the outcome of discovery, briefing and argument before the District Court.