‘Born-alive’ bill heads to S.D. House floor

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A panel of state lawmakers Tuesday endorsed a proposal that would require abortion facilities and physicians in South Dakota to report the number of infants who survived attempted abortions, the medical actions taken to keep them alive, and the outcomes of those efforts.

The legislation also calls for a $100,000 civil penalty if the physician didn’t immediately ensure the child was admitted to a hospital and didn’t perform accepted standards of medical practice.

The House Health and Human Services Committee recommended passage on a 10-3 vote. HB 1051 will be up for debate by the full House of Representatives as early as Thursday afternoon.

“This has nothing to do with a woman’s ability to choose,” said Representative Fred Deutsch, a Florence Republican. He is prime sponsor.

Deutsch said $100,000 is the penalty in other states: “What would it be worth to you, if your child was not properly taken care of, your child was injured? What would be a punitive, substantial penalty?”

The purpose of tracking requirements, according to Deutsch, is to learn whether failed abortions happen in South Dakota: “We know that it happens elsewhere, in states that do track it. We had testimony that CDC has tracked numbers across the nation. But we just don’t know in South Dakota, and we want to find out.”

The only opposition came from Dean Krogman, representing the South Dakota State Medical Association. He said South Dakota liability laws already are $500,000.

“A vote yes on this is, ‘You’re pro-life,’ and nobody will ever say then, ‘You’re pro-choice.’ This stuff gets down to elections, politics, and it’s too bad,” Krogman said. He added, “I am pro-life as much as anybody. But when do you stop? When do you stop being afraid of standing up for what you individually know?”

The House and Senate have increasingly favored abortion restrictions during the past two decades as more Republicans have won legislative elections. South Dakota voters however rejected attempts to outlaw most abortions when the issue was on the 2006 and 2008 election ballots.

Deutsch filed a two-page amendment at 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to Krogman, who questioned whether committee members read it.

“It’s not right that you don’t read the bills. I mean, you can have your values, I don’t care,” Krogman said. “There isn’t one proponent who talked about anything in this bill, not one, because the proponents are pro-life and that is it, that’s all you have to do, is be pro-life, without even knowing what the bill does.”

Mark Miller, the general counsel for Governor Kristi Noem, told the committee she supports it “in concept.”

“We are speaking with Representative Deutsch about a little bit of revisions, just to make sure, you know, that we can get it totally right,” Miller said. “I’m here to make sure the governor’s voice is heard, that we support the born-alive bill being presented today.”

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