Lawmakers in South Dakota have passed an informed consent bill that requires the Planned Parenthood affiliate in the state to tell women seeking abortion the procedure kills a “living human being.”
State Senate Bill 110 passed in the state House by a vote of 56-9. The measure is the first of its kind in the nation and likely to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Pro-abortion rights groups are reeling from the legislation that would also give more authority to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that assist women with unintended pregnancies.
“This bill goes beyond what we have ever seen before from politicians opposed to abortion in the state,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, reports the Argus Leader.
“It attempts to make an extreme law — one that does not exist anywhere else in the country and has already been declared likely unconstitutional — even more extreme,” she added.
However, its proponents say the bill specifically addresses concerns with the manner in which Planned Parenthood has provided informed consent to women:
The Legislature finds that the physicians, agents, and employees performing or assisting in the performance of abortions at the Planned Parenthood facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota provide pregnant mothers written disclosures that include the statement:
“Politicians in the State of South Dakota require us to tell you that some studies have found that women who have had abortions have a higher rate of suicide or thoughts of suicide than other women. We dispute this statement because it does not mean that abortion causes suicide or thoughts of suicide. In fact, no research study has ever established that abortion causes suicide or thoughts of suicide. Planned Parenthood and other medical organizations around the world believe that whether a woman chooses to have an abortion or to have a baby, her chance of having thoughts of suicide or trying suicide will be the same.”
“The idea that you would preface a disclosure with, ‘politicians tell us to tell you these things,’ is antithetical to the purpose and the effectiveness of disclosures,” said Republican state Rep. Steven Haugaard, who authored the bill. “These aren’t simply words dictated by the state. This is an effort to convey truth to an individual who is in a very serious situation.”
Pro-abortion physicians said the legislation violates the free speech rights of abortionists.
“To replace the expertise of dedicated physicians with legislatively mandated misinformation disseminated by uncertified medical amateurs is a medical travesty, an un-American assault on the First Amendment and puts politicians squarely between me and my patients,” Rapid City OBGYN Dr. Marvin Buehner testified before a legislative committee.
In 2016, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also signed a bill into law that strengthened the state’s informed consent requirements prior to abortion by mandating that women have a face-to-face or live video-chat medical consultation about the procedure at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
At a luncheon this week sponsored by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, Vice President Mike Pence, a pro-life advocate, said, “I truly believe that if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again in our time restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”