South Dakota is the most recent state to propose legislation to protect the lives of preborn babies. On Friday, January 21, 2022, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced the language of two new pro-life bills. One proposed measure would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected in the womb. The second measure would ban telemedicine abortions. The proposed legislation was announced as pro-life advocates took to the streets in Washington, D.C., at the March for Life.
In a press release concerning the proposed legislative measures, the governor said, “Every human life is unique and beautiful from the moment it is conceived. Every life is worthy of our protection, worthy of the right to live. We hope that this year’s March for Life will be the last and that the Supreme Court will finally protect every unborn life. But until that comes to pass, these bills will ensure that both unborn children and their mothers are protected in South Dakota.”
The first draft bill, the heartbeat legislation, would ban abortion once a child’s heartbeat is detected in the womb, which happens around the 5th week of pregnancy. This measure creates a legal definition of pregnancy as beginning at fertilization. It also mirrors the Texas heartbeat law as it creates a private cause of action for individuals to sue abortion providers. Like the Texas bill, individuals who successfully sue abortion providers would be entitled to a $10,000 reward from the provider.
The second draft measure, banning telemedicine abortions, would codify the governor’s executive order signed into effect in September of 2021. The executive order responded to the Biden Administration’s efforts to legalize abortion by mail.
A telemedicine abortion occurs when a woman is prescribed medication over the phone or internet that would induce a chemical abortion. Chemical abortions are risky procedures. In fact, emergency room visits are a greater risk to women following a chemical abortion rather than a surgical abortion.
According to the governor’s press release, “Over the last decade, abortions have declined by approximately 80% in South Dakota. Last year, Governor Noem signed eight pro-life bills into law, including a ban on abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome and a bill to protect children born alive, regardless of the circumstances of that child’s birth.”
Both proposed measures will need to be officially introduced by a member of the state legislature before the legislative bodies can vote on them.
Pro-life friends living in South Dakota are encouraged to contact their state representatives and senators to urge their support for the draft legislation.
Preborn babies are human too, and they deserve protection from violence in the womb.
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