Mixed responses in S.D. from pregnant mothers seeking abortions on seeing or hearing unborn

Capitol News Bureau

(AP Photo/Rebecca Santana)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Pregnant women who received abortions in South Dakota have been more willing to view in-womb images or hear heartbeats of their unborn children before going ahead with the procedures than they have been about receiving information in printed form or from a website.

That’s according to annual reports from the South Dakota Department of Health. The reports are based on records that physicians must file.

A 1998 South Dakota law requires a detailed record from a physician for each abortion. Another state law requires information be offered to a pregnant mother beforehand.

Requiring that a sonogram image be offered was added to state laws in 2008. Requiring that the sound of the heartbeat be offered was added in 2019.

A publicly stated purpose for these laws is to ensure the pregnant mothers have sufficient information to give voluntary and informed consent.

Governor Kristi Noem said Thursday on Twitter she has directed her office’s general legal counsel to review the strength of South Dakota’s abortion laws.

Department reports from the past three years for South Dakota show a mixed response on pregnant mothers accepting those informed-consent offers of information. (Note: Numbers don’t add up in some instances because information was missing from the forms the department received.)

In 2020, the department received 136 filings. The number was smaller than for previous years, because only three abortions were performed during the months of April through September as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Of those, 125 indicated the patient went on to receive an abortion. One patient received an abortion without receiving information because of a medical emergency.

Of the 136, three accepted printed materials available from public and private assistance agencies. Three accepted the Fetal Growth and Development Booklet. Five accepted the department’s internet website address for “Information on Fetal Development, Birth, Abortion and Adoption.”

On sonograms, however, 85 accepted while 50 did not. For heartbeats, 38 accepted while 86 did not. The department didn’t account for the remainder.

In 2019, the department received 492 consent forms. Of those, 414 went on to receive an abortion. Three weren’t offered information because of their medical conditions.

Of the 489, eleven pregnant mothers accepted printed materials available from public and private assistance agencies. Eleven accepted the Fetal Growth and Development Booklet. Thirteen accepted the department’s internet website address for “Information on Fetal Development, Birth, Abortion and Adoption.”

On sonograms, 249 accepted while 237 didn’t. For heartbeats, which took effect July 1, 2019, there were 233 forms starting that day; 72 accepted while 159 didn’t.

In 2018, before the heartbeat offer was required, the department received 449 consent forms. Of those, 382 went on to receive an abortion. One pregnant mother didn’t receive information because of her medical condition.

Of the 449, ten accepted printed materials available from public and private assistance agencies. Nine accepted the Fetal Growth and Development Booklet. Ten accepted the department’s website address for “Information on Fetal Development, Birth, Adoption and Abortion.”

On sonograms, 220 accepted while 227 did not.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss