SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA— Today, the nation’s most extreme abortion ban takes effect in Texas, marking a grave era in which safe and legal abortion is at extreme risk. The law, S.B. 8, bans abortion at six weeks, before most know they are pregnant, and empowers private citizens to sue abortion providers and private citizens who “aid and abet” an abortion.
“South Dakota is facing the grim reality of losing what little access it has to safe and legal abortions,” said Kristin Hayward, South Dakota State Director of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund. “S.B. 8 lays the groundwork for other states to follow suit, including South Dakota. It is an egregious overreach that will divide communities and pit neighbors against neighbors. While abortion is still legal today, Texas is showing us what the future of abortion could quickly become.”
The Texas law comes as the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is set to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, a Mississippi case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the decision that established the right to abortion. If SCOTUS significantly weakens Roe, abortion rights would be determined by state law, paving the way for extreme state politicians to ban abortion.
At the same time, many states are also exacerbating health inequities by eliminating access to contraception and sex education. By taking away individuals’ ability to prevent pregnancy and their right to abortion, South Dakotans are facing a new era where people will be forced into pregnancy.
These policies exacerbate health inequities by harming people of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas the most. People struggling to make ends meet are often forced to delay accessing contraception and abortion services because they need time to secure the funds. They are also less able to travel out of state to get the care they need.
If Roe v. Wade were significantly undermined, abortion rights would be decided at the state level. And for South Dakotans, abortion would immediately be banned under the state’s trigger law should Roe fall.
Already, 98 percent of counties in South Dakota lack abortion providers. And anti-abortion lawmakers have passed abortion bans and medically unnecessary requirements for patients and providers, including state-directed counseling, a 72-hour waiting period, and a parental consent requirement. The state also places burdensome and unnecessary requirements on abortion providers related to staffing, equipment, and the physical building.
“We will always fight to protect reproductive freedom in South Dakota,” Hayward said. “State protections for abortion access ensure that every person, no matter their zip code, has access to the health care they need and deserve.”
Founded in 1992, the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization. As the advocacy and electoral arm of PPMNS, we mobilize supporters of all parties to defend and increase access to family planning srvices and fact based, medically accurate sexuality education. We work to inspire and engage citizens to take up the cause of reproductive health and rights throuegh education, electoral activity, grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy.