South Dakota Gov. Signs Pro-Life Law Letting Women Hear Fetal Heartbeat Before Abortion

State   Micaiah Bilger   Mar 21, 2019   |   10:38AM    Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem knows the vital importance of information ahead of a life-changing decision.

On Wednesday, she signed a law requiring that abortionists provide information about unborn babies to their mothers before going through with the abortion, the AP reports.

In South Dakota, the abortion industry no longer will be allowed to hide information from women who are considering abortions. The new law requires that abortionists offer women the opportunity to see their unborn baby’s ultrasound image and hear their heartbeat.

“A strong and growing body of medical research provides evidence that unborn babies can feel, think, and recognize sounds in the womb. These are people, they must be given the same basic dignities as anyone else,” Noem said in a statement.

She said the new law is a step in the right direction, but she will continue to work “until abortion is eliminated completely.”

Noem also signed pro-life laws Wednesday to criminalize forced abortions and require abortionists to obtain the woman’s consent in writing. Two other pro-life laws that she signed require abortion facilities to report basic abortion data to the state and require parental notification before a girl under 18 has an abortion.

Pro-life groups praised Noem for her support of the unborn and their mothers.

“In signing these pro-life bills that had broad legislative support, Governor Noem has demonstrated once again that she is a champion for life,” said Dale Bartscher, executive director of South Dakota Right to Life, in a statement.

Norman Woods, executive director of Family Heritage Alliance, also thanked the pro-life governor for her leadership in defending life.

“Across the nation, we see state governments discussing and enacting laws that allow for the killing of a child at any stage of pregnancy,” Woods said. “In South Dakota however, we have a governor committed to protecting unborn children, and she has shown her support again today with her signature on these bills.”

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Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion facility in South Dakota, quickly criticized the female governor for her actions.

Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood North Central States, claimed the laws are nothing but a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“The state has already squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees fighting for medically unnecessary abortion restrictions,” Stoesz said in a statement. “The people of South Dakota want their lawmakers to focus on improving the health of our state; instead, they’ve passed more legislation that’s based on medically inaccurate information and contrary to the recommendations of health care professionals.”

But the people of South Dakota elected their governor and lawmakers knowing that they are pro-life. Public opinion polls also do not support Stoesz’s claims.

Parental involvement laws have strong public support. According to a 2009 Pew Research Poll, “Even among those who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 71 percent favor requiring parental consent” before girls under 18 have abortions. A 2011 Gallup poll also found 71 percent of Americans favor such laws.

Gallup also found strong support of informed consent requirements that inform women of the risks and alternatives to abortion, as well as information about their unborn babies’ development.