Abortions now illegal in South Dakota following Supreme Court’s ruling

Visitors walk outside the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb....
Visitors walk outside the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:25 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It is now illegal to perform an abortion in South Dakota following a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court.

The justices overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision Friday, effectively ending federal protections for abortion rights.

South Dakota is one of 13 states with what’s called a “trigger law” banning abortions the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. South Dakota’s law not only bans abortions but deems it a class 6 felony to provide one. Class 6 felonies are punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a $4,000 fine.

The only exception in South Dakota’s law, which the legislature passed in 2005, is if there is an “appropriate and reasonable medical judgement” that an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the mother.

Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

South Dakota House Bill 1249, passed in 2005

Gov. Kristi Noem’s office issued a statement shortly after the ruling saying she, along with several state lawmakers, will call for a special legislative session later this year to potentially expand on the state’s abortion laws.

The statement, jointly issued by Senate President Lee Schoenbeck and House Speaker Pro Tempore Jon Hansen, did not specify what rules lawmakers may seek to codify - stating only that the legislature intends to make sure South Dakota law “protects the unborn and helps mothers.” The exact date of the special session will be decided after discussion with legislative leadership.

Noem tweeted in the wake of the ruling, saying “life wins.”

Other conservative lawmakers, including South Dakota Sen. John Thune, praised Friday’s ruling. His opponent in the upcoming election, Brian Bens, issued a statement saying he was “appalled” by the court’s decision. The South Dakota Democratic Party also spoke out against the ruling.

Abortion services effectively ended in South Dakota last week when Planned Parenthood paused abortions at its Sioux Falls facility, the only abortion provider in the state.

South Dakotans could still receive an abortion by traveling to another state where it is legal. The nearest state with laws protecting abortion rights is Minnesota.

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