Associated Press Article

Associated Press article regarding the upheld and now enforced SD informed consent statute.

By CHET BROKAW, Associated Press Writer

PIERRE, S.D. — Starting Friday, doctors in South Dakota must tell women seeking abortions that the procedure ends a human life and may cause them psychological harm, the state attorney general said.  Planned Parenthood challenged the 2005 law that requires those statements, but a court order that prevented the state from enforcing the law expires Friday.  “Any entity to whom the law applies should be in compliance tomorrow,” Attorney General Larry Long said Thursday.  Planned Parenthood, which operates a women’s clinic in Sioux Falls that is South Dakota’s only acknowledged abortion provider, will comply with the law, spokeswoman Kathi Di Nicola said.  “We will do what the law says, but clearly the law is extreme and flawed and wrong,” Di Nicola said.  U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier of Rapid City prevented the law from taking effect while she decided whether it was constitutional. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal last month overruled her order and sent the case back to her for a trial. A date has not been set.  The 2005 law requires doctors to tell women “that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” Women also would have to be told they have a right to continue a pregnancy and that abortion may cause them psychological harm, including thoughts of suicide.  Planned Parenthood argues the law interferes in the doctor-patient relationship, requires doctors to tell women untrue things and violates doctors’ free-speech rights.  The state argues the law requires doctors to tell accurate information.  The South Dakota Legislature has passed a number of recent laws intended to reduce or eliminate abortions.  A law that took effect July 1 requires doctors to ask women if they want to see sonograms of their fetuses, but women will not be forced to look at them.  State voters in 2006 rejected a ballot measure to ban all abortions except to save the woman’s life. A ballot measure this year would ban abortions with exceptions for rape, incest and a threat to a woman’s life and health.

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