PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s legal code will be updated to show that most abortions are now prohibited in the state.
The South Dakota Code Commission has voted in favor of recommendations from Code Counsel Jason Goetz.
Those changes will delete the former trimester approach that South Dakota used and will instead reflect the ‘trigger’ law that the Legislature approved in 2005.
The 2005 law said that performing or procuring an abortion other than to preserve the life of the pregnant female would become a Class 6 felony “on the date states are recognized by the United States Supreme Court to have the authority to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy.”
The nation’s highest court issued that decision last June. Goetz now intends to remove the texts of five provisions, including the retroactively outlawed trimester approach, and list each of them as “Repealed.”
He also plans to add a commission note to each of the five that says, “This section was repealed by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022), pursuant to SL 2005, ch187 § __. 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 abortions at all stages of pregnancy.'”
Said Goetz, “This would be a relatively unique convention just for these trigger laws.”
He also will remove the introductory sentence “Section effective on the date states are recognized by the United States Supreme Court to have the authority to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy” that precedes the new law.
However, the Code Commission also asked Goetz to wait on updating other trigger and sunset dates that he has identified elsewhere in state code.
Republican Rep. Mike Stevens said making those changes could be misinterpreted.
Stevens specifically referred to the state sales-tax reduction to 4.2% that the Legislature passed in the 2023 session but Governor Kristi Noem hasn’t decided whether to accept. To get the Senate to agree, the House of Representatives accepted wording that calls for the reduction to expire on June 30, 2027, and return to 4.5%.
The commission’s chair, Margaret Vandemore Gillespie of Alcester, said the broader matter could be discussed with members of the State Bar of South Dakota during the annual meeting in June.