South Dakota’s “trigger law” bans nearly all abortions following US Supreme Court decision
PIERRE, S.D. — The U.S. Supreme Court, early Friday morning, released their decision in the Dobbs v Jackson case which challenged Mississippi’s law on abortion. The outcome, overturning Roe v Wade passed originally in January 1973, has now banned abortion in the State of South Dakota.
South Dakota’s trigger law passed in 2005 goes into effect immediately. Dale Bartscher, Executive Director of South Dakota Right to Life, explains, “South Dakota trigger law… states explicitly that when Roe v Wade is overturned, at that moment, our trigger law goes into effect. And the trigger law for South Dakota simply states that all induced or elective abortions are banned in the State of South Dakota except to save the life of the mother.”
22-17-5.1 codified law says: “Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. (Section 7 of SL 2005, ch 187, as amended by SL 2005, ch 188, § 1, provides: “This Act is effective on the date that the states are recognized by the United States Supreme Court to have the authority to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy.”)
“Today’s decision will save unborn lives in South Dakota, but there is more work to do,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “We must do what we can to help mothers in crisis know that there are options and resources available for them.”
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Governor Kristi Noem and leaders in the South Dakota State Legislature jointly announced plans for a special session late this year.
“A special session is necessary because we could not have known this winter in session that we would have this opportunity and new responsibility to protect lives presented by the Supreme Court’s decision. Also, there will be more work to do on the many challenges a post-Roe world presents in regular session next January,” says Senate President Lee Schoenbeck.
The exact dates of the special session will be decided promptly after discussion with legislative leadership.
As news of the Supreme Court’s decision spread throughout the state, our leaders responded with their reactions.
U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson reacts, “I’ve never believed the Roe v Wade decision-which was ultimately a personal privacy case-was justification to take a human life. The unborn deserve protection.”
U.S. Senator John Thune said on Friday, “Our country is dedicated to the defense of human rights, and I hope that we can further live up to that promise with the question of abortion now rightfully returned to the state, the democratic process, and to elected officials who can be held accountable to the American people for their decisions.”
However, not everyone is in favor of this new development.
Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States says, “This decision is an unconscionable rollback of fundamental rights for all people in the United States. Because people’s right to access abortion is no longer guaranteed by federal law, it now depends on where you live and how much money you have to travel out of state for abortion care.”
A press release from Planned Parenthood also says that abortion remains legal in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Both South Dakota and North Dakota had previously passed trigger laws that have now went into effect, banning elective abortion in those states.
The United State Supreme Court opinion can be found here: U.S. Supreme Court Decision Dobbs v Jackson.