South Dakota Women to be Told Abortion Ends a Life. State's Informed Consent Law Passes Legal Hurdle
PIERRE, South Dakota, JULY 4, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Abortion providers in South Dakota should soon have to tell women that the procedure ends a human life.
A 7-4 decision by the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled against a stay on the state's informed consent law, passed by the legislature in 2005.
The law stipulates that a woman be informed that abortion "will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," and that the woman has an existing, constitutional relationship with her unborn child.
Planned Parenthood, South Dakota's only abortion provider, challenged the law as a violation of abortionists' free speech. The district court had prevented the law from taking effect while the case was being decided.
The July 27 ruling of the federal appeals threw out the order, saying Planned Parenthood had not provided enough evidence to prove that the statement was not true. As a result, the court said, the statement is not ideological, but factual, and thus could not be considered a violation of abortionists' rights.
The ruling sends the case back to the Rapid City District Court judge to determine if the law is constitutional.
Supporters of the law affirm that women have the right to be informed before making a decision on abortion.
State Attorney General Larry Long, who defended the law, told the Associated Press that the state can probably begin enforcing the law within weeks.
"The bottom line," Long said, "is if the state legislature orders a professional to tell the truth, that's not a violation of the First Amendment."