Appeals court upholds SD abortion suicide advisoryA portion of a 2005 South Dakota abortion law that requires a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she faces an increased risk of suicide is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A portion of a 2005 South Dakota abortion law that requires a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she faces an increased risk of suicide is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the portion of the law 7-4.
“On its face, the suicide advisory presents neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians’ free speech rights,” the court wrote.
The full circuit court agreed to rehear the case after a three-judge panel upheld U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier's decision to overturn the requirement following a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood in September. The decision by the full 11-member court grants judgment to the state and vacates the permanent injunction against enforcing the provision.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and representatives of Planned Parenthood were not immediately available for comment.
In December, when it was announced that the full 8th Circuit Court would rehear the case, Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said she was confident the panel would uphold the two prior decisions and find that an abortion does not subject a woman to an increased risk of suicide.
“The research is on our side,” Stoesz said.
Leslee Unruh, the founder of the Alpha Center pregnancy counseling center in Sioux Falls, which seeks to persuade women not to seek abortions, called Tuesday's court decision a victory for South Dakota women.
“We are thrilled. This has been a long time working from 2005. It's a long, long haul. We are so excited for the women of South Dakota that they have this victory,” she said.
The suicide advisory was part of a larger law requiring South Dakota doctors to provide women with certain information before an abortion can be voluntary.