Bill looks to change abortion requirements for doctors in South Dakota

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South Dakota lawmakers will return to Pierre for the new legislative session next week and it appears one of the early issues they'll face will involve abortion.

Source: MGN Online

South Dakota Republican Sen. Stace Nelson is one of several lawmakers who has signed on to a bill expanding requirements for doctors prior to performing an abortion.

“This isn’t just a tissue mass,” Nelson said “It’s a living unborn child. It allows expected mothers to be given that respect and be given the information that the surgery that is going to be done is with their living child.”

Current South Dakota law says doctors must give women the opportunity to view a sonogram before an abortion. Under this proposed measure, providers would not be able to perform an abortion without first showing the woman a sonogram and letting her hear the heartbeat.

“The women are going through a very difficult time and this only, I think, would make it harder for them,” South Dakota Democratic Party Communications Director Aaron Matson said.

Matson said a bill that expands these requirements is unnecessary.

“Wherever you stand on the issue of a women’s right to choose, you can find that this bill is unnecessary and kind of a solution in search of a problem,” Matson said. “We already have some of the most restrictive laws regarding women’s health in the country.”

“Anybody that claims that they are in favor of a women's choice should be all for these women being given the full information needed to make that decision,” Nelson said.

According to the wording in the bill, if the heartbeat is present the doctor would also be required to describe the unborn child's size, organs, and heartbeat to the woman. Nelson said that could change a woman's mind.

“We can’t make somebody listen,” Nelson said. “We can’t make somebody look at something. What this does is it would require those who are going to perform the abortion on this unborn child to provide that information to the patient that there is a living unborn child in their womb.”

The bill would also change the wording saying a woman seeking an abortion would be making a choice rather than an informed decision if she refuses to not receive any information.

Governor elect Noem’s Press Secretary Kristin Wileman said in a statement, “The Governor-Elect is not commenting on draft legislation at this point. That said, Governor-Elect Noem is pro-life and has committed to toughening abortion laws and protecting the lives of unborn babies.”