We knew it was coming, and now it’s here: the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear its first major abortion case since conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett filled the seat of reproductive freedom advocate Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Court will review a blatantly unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, which is currently blocked by the lower courts. The Court is expected to rule on this case in 2022. If it allows the ban to take effect, it could have devastating consequences for abortion access across the country and in our state.
This is the moment that anti-abortion politicians have been waiting for: by taking up this case, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is seizing their opportunity to challenge Roe v. Wade and chip away at abortion access.
So, what does this mean for South Dakota?
South Dakota’s Trigger Law
In 2005, the South Dakota Legislature passed a trigger law. If the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, this law would immediately trigger the ban of all abortion in the state except “to preserve life of [a] pregnant female.”
This ban would further traumatize and harm South Dakotans who have experienced rape or incest. Furthermore, it would have a dramatic and disproportionate impact on communities that already face systemic barriers to health care, including people of color, young people, those in rural areas, and those with low incomes. For some, traveling out of state for health care is not an option, and these people will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.
South Dakotans deserve the opportunity to control their bodies, their families, and their life’s path, including whether and when to become a parent.
Rest assured, while we wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case, abortion is still safe and legal in South Dakota. In South Dakota, Planned Parenthood operates the state’s only health center to offer abortion care. Planned Parenthood’s doors remain open to provide vital and compassionate care to all patients. And no matter what fights come our way, we won't back down. Together, we'll keep fighting for reproductive freedom in South Dakota.