South Dakota Becomes 13th State To Ban Late-Term Abortions

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South Dakota has become the 13th state to make the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act the law of the land.

The measure, which bans most abortions in the state after the fifth month of pregnancy, says it is “an Act to prohibit the abortion of an unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain and to provide a penalty therefor.”

Republican state Rep. Isaac Latterell – the bill’s primary sponsor in the state House – said the legislation recognizes “the humanity of these children,” reports Minnesota

“I think it’ll save lives because it lets women know that their children really are humans just like us,” he continued. “I think it’s a great step forward for our state, and I would like to see us do more to protect the innocent.”

The Act states:

(1) The state has a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain;

(2) There is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by twenty weeks after fertilization.

The law does not provide exceptions for rape or incest. Addressing the issue of an exception to the law due to a “medical emergency,” the law states:

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to intentionally or recklessly perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain unless it is a medical emergency…. No medical emergency may form the basis for an exception… if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant mother will engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or other self-harm.

The definition of “medical emergency” has been a major concern for lawmakers supporting such legislation since the abortion lobby and its supporters – such as Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – have pushed for vague exceptions such as the “health of the mother,” a phrase that might easily be interpreted to mean “mental health” or non-emergency conditions.

President of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote at National Review that the notion of a woman’s “health” exception to late-term abortion “is a loophole so big as to make the underlying restriction meaningless.”

Dannenfelser explains regarding Clinton’s statement that she favors a “late-pregnancy regulation” abortion restriction, but with “exceptions for the life and health of the mother:”

It applies to anyone who claims to feel “mental distress” at the thought of having a baby. And it’s hard to take seriously the idea that a woman who stood by as her husband vetoed a law to prohibit the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion now opposes the very abortions the technique was designed to administer.

A medical animation of a second trimester abortion can be seen in the video below – produced by Live Action and narrated by former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino:

According to the South Dakota law:

When an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain is necessary due to a medical emergency, the physician shall deliver the child in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, but only if it is consistent with preserving the pregnant mother’s life and preventing an irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

The bill also requires abortionists to maintain a high level of record keeping of all abortions performed, including the reason for the abortion.

A spokesperson for Republican South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said the governor “is sure that” the state’s attorney general “will be prepared to defend the constitutionality of the bill.” Pro-abortion groups have introduced challenges to these laws in other states.

The legislation was opposed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

“This is just another bill that puts politicians in the way of women’s personal medical decisions,” Timothy Stanley of Planned Parenthood said. “I think this bill could do tremendous harm to the women who are the most vulnerable in the state of South Dakota.”

The ban on late-term abortions was one of several pro-life pieces of legislation recently passed by the South Dakota legislature. A bill that prohibits the sale of fetal body parts and makes it a Class 6 felony to engage in the practice, and another that requires women to be informed of “all known medical risks of the [abortion] procedure” and that addresses other full informed consent issues was also passed.


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