South Dakota Abortion Law Will Face Later Court Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Law Will Face Later Court Hearing

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 13, 2005

Pierre, SD ( — A federal judge has delayed the start of a trial on whether a new South Dakota abortion law is constitutional. The measure would require abortion practitioners to inform women that abortion has various risks and dangers associated with it.

The law, approved by the state legislature in 2005, would have abortion practitioners tell women that abortions end a human life and come with a plethora of medical and psychological problems.

After abortion advocates sued to overturn the law, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier issued a ruling June 30 saying the measure is an unconstitutional violation of free speech. She issued an injunction stopping the state from enforcing the law while the lawsuit continued.

A hearing had been scheduled for October 11, but both the state and the abortion business suing to overturn the law asked for more time to prepare. Now, both sides will participate in a February 2006 hearing on the statute.

Meanwhile, two pregnancy centers have asked to join the state as defendants in the case and the state told Judge Schreier that it will ask the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the law to take effect for the duration of the court case.

Alpha Center in Sioux Falls and Black Hills Crisis Pregnancy Center in Rapid City say they have a stake in the case because the women impacted by the law are considering an abortion and often come to the centers for more advice and information.

"When the pregnant mothers realize that abortion involves the termination of the life of a human being, they look at the procedure in a different light," Leslee Unruh, Alpha Center president, told the Associated Press. "It is not taken lightly and for most of the women this fact is of critical importance and leads them to search for other alternatives."

They also counsel women who have had abortions and say they were not well informed by the abortion centers beforehand.

John Guhin, an assistant attorney general, support the centers being added to the case.