South Dakota Abortion Information Law Faces Appeals Court Defeat

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 30, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Abortion Information Law Faces Appeals Court Defeat Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 30
, 2006

Pierre, SD ( — Changes to a South Dakota law to make sure women aren’t denied information from abortion facilities about abortion’s risks and alternatives will not be able to go into effect. That’s the ruling from the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis which heard a challenge from Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion business in the state.

Just one week before state voters will decide whether an abortion ban the state legislature approved should stand the Eighth Circuit let stand a federal injunction against implementing the changes.

The modifications, 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.

But Planned Parenthood claimed that would infringe on the free speech rights of abortion practitioners by making them tell women the truth about abortion’s problems.

The law was scheduled to take effect law year, but U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier granted the Planned Parenthood injunction Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and the Dakotas sought. She issued the ruling saying she believed Planned Parenthood would prevail in its case and agreed that first amendment rights would be improperly trumped.

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

The appeals court agreed on a 2-1 ruling and continued the injunction.

Two pregnancy centers joined the state as defendants in the 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.

Similar informed consent laws in other states have reduced the number of abortions and helped women in unplanned pregnancies fund local agencies that will help them.