South Dakota Law to Give Women Abortion Info Gets Appeals Court Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Law to Give Women Abortion Info Gets Appeals Court Hearing

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 20, 2006

St. Louis, MO ( — A South Dakota law to make sure women aren’t denied information from abortion facilities about abortion’s risks and alternatives was the subject of a hearing at a U.S. appeals court. The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis heard a challenge to the law from Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state.

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.

The law was scheduled to take effect law year, but U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier issued a ruling last June saying the measure is an unconstitutional violation of free speech of abortion practitioners. She issued an injunction stopping the state from enforcing the law while the lawsuit continued.

The state appealed the ruling, even though part of the case is still at the district court level.

Two pregnancy centers joined 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, supported the centers being added to the case.

A hearing had been scheduled for October, but both the state and the abortion business suing to overturn the law asked for more time to prepare.