South Dakota House Passes Pro-Life Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 8, 2016   |   4:12PM   |   Pierre, SD

State legislators are moving to make South Dakota the ninth state to protect unborn babies from abortions when they begin to feel pain.

The South Dakota state House overwhelmingly approved a 20-week abortion ban on Monday in a 59-7 vote, according to the Associated Press. The bill would end abortions at the 20 week mark when unborn babies can feel pain, and it would penalize abortionists who violate the law with up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, according to the report. The only exceptions would be in certain medical emergency cases, the report states.

“These are people just like you and me,” said state Rep. Isaac Latterell, House sponsor of the bill. He added that the bill recognizes “the humanity of unborn children.”

South Dakota has one abortion clinic left, a Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls that does abortions up to 14 weeks; however, the new bill would ensure that later abortions will not be done in the future in the state. More than 18,000 very late term abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America.

The amended bill moves to the state Senate for consideration, the report states. The bill seems likely to pass given that the state Senate approved a previous version of the bill earlier this year. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is pro-life, has not indicated whether he will sign it if it reaches his desk, according to the report.



The bill is modeled after the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has become law in 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.

Though abortion advocates deny the science of fetal pain, researchers have fully established fetal pain at 20 weeks or earlier. Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen wrote, “The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb.”

“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.

Further research showed that hormone levels in unborn babies decrease when pain-relievers are supplied, LifeNews previously reported.

As a result of this research, a pro-life Utah state senator recently proposed legislation to require that unborn babies be given anesthesia prior to being killed in an abortion.