South Dakota received some good news this week from a report showing the number of abortions fell significantly across the state.
The state Department of Health reported 382 abortions in 2018, a 23 percent drop from 2017, KELO News reports. In comparison, 497 unborn babies were aborted in the state in 2017.
South Dakota has only one abortion business, a Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls. Many of the women (154) who aborted their unborn babies in 2018 live in Minnehaha County, where the Planned Parenthood also is located, according to the report.
Pro-life advocates celebrated the news but agreed that more needs to be done to help mothers and babies in the state.
“Although this reduction of elective abortions is welcomed news, we will not rest until every human being is given the right to life in our great state of South Dakota,” South Dakota Right to Life Executive Director Dale Bartscher said in a statement.
Bartscher said the decline is “significant but not unexpected due to the group diligently working statewide.”
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The number follows the state’s general downward trend in abortions for the past 10 years: According to the department’s earliest records available online, 848 abortions were performed in the state in 2008, showing an overall 55% decrease between 2008 and 2018.
In those 10 years, 2018 marked the greatest single-year percentage drop at 23%, with 2010-2011 and 2014-2015 following at 19% each.
The Department of Health report includes the reasons why the mothers chose to abort their unborn babies. The number one reason was because they “did not desire to have the child,” with 224 mothers choosing this option. The second reason, with 198 selecting it, was because the mother could not afford the child, according to the report. Four (1 percent) said their reason was because the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
According to the report, most abortions cost $600 to $700 in 2018.
The AP reports pro-life Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a number of pro-life laws earlier this year to protect unborn babies from abortion. One law requires abortion facilities to offer the mother the opportunity to see her unborn baby on the ultrasound screen and hear the baby’s heartbeat. Another law makes it a crime to abort an unborn baby against the mother’s will.
Planned Parenthood North Central States spokesperson Aleena Kaleem blamed the decline on pro-life laws and advocates, saying they create “barriers to abortion” for women who are struggling.