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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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Attorney General Jackley Joins Amicus in Support of Ban on Dismemberment Abortion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Friday, March 17, 2017  
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215    

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that South Dakota has joined 22 State Attorneys General in an amicus or “friend of the court” brief filed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The brief supports an Alabama law that bans dismemberment abortions.  Many States have recently adopted similar laws or are currently considering adopting a law prohibiting dismemberment abortions without fetal demise. 

“The United States Supreme Court has recognized that States have an interest in protecting and fostering respect for human life.  Dismemberment abortions clearly fail to protect or foster respect for human life,” said Jackley. 

Dismemberment abortions kill fetuses by tearing them limb from limb while they are still alive in the womb.  In support of that State interest, the Courts have ruled that States may prohibit specific abortion procedures so long as they do not unduly burden the decision to obtain an abortion.  The amicus brief argues the federal court failed to give the State’s interest in respecting and fostering human life sufficient consideration when it enjoined the enforcement of Alabama’s dismemberment abortion ban. 

Under South Dakota law, abortions are only lawful if performed under certain conditions.  Partial-birth abortions, which are described by SDCL 34-23A-32 as “any abortion in which the person who performs the abortion causes a living human fetus to be partially vaginally delivered before killing the infant and completing the delivery,” are illegal unless necessary to save the life of the mother.