South Dakota Strengthens Informed Consent
Special Report - July 28, 2008
On Friday, July 18, 2008, a new South Dakota law took effect, requiring abortionists to inform women considering an abortion that they will terminate the life of “a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The law also requires abortionists to warn women of the physical, emotional, and psychological risks associated with abortion. This is happening because the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction put in place for a lower federal court to consider the constitutionality of the measure.
In March 2005, the South Dakota legislature passed HB 1166, which amended the state’s Informed Consent Statute, regarding abortion procedures. Pointing out that physicians and healthcare practitioners must provide information about the facts, risks, and alternatives of any proposed course of treatment, this amendment applies the same requirements to abortionists. Women seeking an abortion must provide “voluntary and informed written consent” to an abortion after they have been provided written information including:
• The name of the physician performing the abortion;
• Notice that “the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;”
• A description of medical risks including depression, suicide, and death;
• The child’s probable gestational age and development;
• Notice that “medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;”
• “The name, address, and telephone number of a pregnancy help center in reasonable proximity of the abortion facility.”
South Dakota has had an informed consent provision since 1993 that includes parental consent for abortions performed on minors. Additionally, effective July 1, 2008, South Dakota abortion providers are now required to offer women the opportunity to view ultrasound images of their children. According to Focus on the Family, which operates the Option Ultrasound Program nationwide, 90 percent of abortion-minded women choose life after receiving counseling and viewing an ultrasound image of their unborn child.
In 2007, North Carolina House Representatives Mark Hilton (RCatawba) and Linda Johnson (RCabarrus) introduced HB 1782Ultrasound Before An Abortion, requiring abortionists to offer women considering an abortion the opportunity to view an ultrasound image of their unborn child and to provide much of the same information South Dakota now requires of abortionists, including the gestational age of the unborn child, material on fetal development, and agencies that offer abortion alternatives. This bill was never considered by the House. There are now 20 states with legislation requiring abortionists to at least offer ultrasound technology to all their patients.
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.