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South Dakota Abortion Laws: Quotes From Heated Debate

By    |   Wednesday, 05 August 2015 09:21 PM

South Dakota lawmakers have tested boundaries regarding how far it can push toward preventing abortions.

In 2006 and 2008, legislators passed laws banning most abortions unless a woman's life was in danger, but voters overturned the laws both times. In 2011, a proposal would have expanded the definition of justifiable homicide to include killing someone intending to harm a fetus, such as a doctor who performs the procedure.

House Bill 1171, introduced by Rep. Phil Jensen, proposed language that allowed for a homicide if committed by an individual "while resisting an attempt to harm" an unborn fetus, according to Vote Smart. The bill was tabled.

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Fiery rhetoric has emerged from pro-life and pro-choice advocates whenever any abortion legislation is introduced. Here are some quotes.

"The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers. It would actually legalize murder."
Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, told CBS Radio News in 2011, referring to House Bill 1171

"Let's say an ex-boyfriend finds out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his baby and decides to beat on her abdomen to kill the unborn child. This is an illegal act and the purpose of this bill is to bring continuity to South Dakota code as it relates to the unborn child."
Rep. Phil Jensen, to Reuters, in defense of House Bill 1171

"I don't believe the intent is malicious, but the potential legal implications of the bill are what make it dangerous. If it passes without an amendment exempting attacks on providers, it could incite violence from individuals who believe their actions will be found justifiable in court."
— Alisha Sedor, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, according to Reuters

House Bill 1241, introduced in 2014, would have made it a Class 2 felony to provide an abortion that dismembers a fetus, with a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail and a $50,000 fine. The bill was voted down in committee.

"It just makes clear that a certain procedure that is totally horrific and gruesome to any reasonable person would not be an acceptable method of ending a child's life, and that is to dismember or decapitate a living, unborn child."
Republican Rep. Isaac Latterell, the bill's prime sponsor, told the Argus-Leader

Pro-Choice advocates disagreed.

"Even after South Dakota voters rejected efforts to ban abortion in 2006 and again in 2008, some legislators continue to pile restriction after restriction on a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions. Politicians in the South Dakota Legislature are intent on continuing to make it even more difficult for a woman to access reproductive health care."
South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families said in a statement, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation.

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In 2011, Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a bill into law that required women seeking an abortion to undergo counseling at pro-life pregnancy counseling centers and then wait three days, the longest waiting period in the country.

"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives. I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a statement in 2011, according to The Associated Press.

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South Dakota lawmakers have tested boundaries regarding how far it can push toward preventing abortions.
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Wednesday, 05 August 2015 09:21 PM
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