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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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SD Joins Challenge to States’ Authority to Protect Life and Regulate Dismemberment Abortions

PIERRE, S.D. -  Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today he has joined a 25 state coalition of Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief, in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Becerra, Attorney General of Texas, with the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief supports the States’ authority to regulate dismemberment abortions for the purpose of protecting unborn life and human dignity.

 “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 States’ interest in respecting and fostering human life sufficient consideration when it enjoined the enforcement of Texas’ dismemberment abortion ban that required fetal demise before dismemberment.  

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. 

There is no cost to the State of South Dakota to join this challenge.