ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Abortions could be prohibited after 20 weeks over fetal pain

PIERRE--State senators voted Tuesday to toughen South Dakota's abortion restrictions by four weeks. They decided 21-14 to embrace the fetal-pain standard of 20 weeks. They would prohibit abortions in most instances if the pregnancy is in week 20 ...

PIERRE-State senators voted Tuesday to toughen South Dakota's abortion restrictions by four weeks.

They decided 21-14 to embrace the fetal-pain standard of 20 weeks. They would prohibit abortions in most instances if the pregnancy is in week 20 or after.

Currently, abortions are generally allowed within the first 24 weeks.

The prime sponsor is Sen. Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre. He said all of the stories told by senators about difficult births should be considered.

"We can trade stories," Monroe said. "I'd just as soon vote on the bill and not keep throwing soft knives."

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislation, SB 72, now moves to the House of Representatives. Its lead sponsor there is Rep. Isaac Latterell, R-Tea.

Monroe, a former legislator, narrowly won the Senate Republican nomination in 2014 against Rep. Tad Perry, of Fort Pierre, in a contest highlighted by their differences on abortion restrictions.

Monroe's original version of SB 72 received several amendments at its Senate committee hearing.

One was reducing the penalty for a person found guilty of performing an abortion after 20 weeks.

Monroe originally wanted a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years in state prison and a $4,000 fine.

That was reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The legislation provides an exemption in cases to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother.

More amendments came Tuesday from Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark. He once was executive director for South Dakota Right to Life, an organization that seeks prohibiting abortions altogether.

ADVERTISEMENT

Greenfield described the amendments as "cleanup" but Sen. Angie Buhl O'Donnell, D-Sioux Falls, said they are "substantive."

One of the changes would broaden the period when abortions must be performed in a hospital.

What To Read Next
Special meeting to cover base bids and alternatives
Members Only
During the sentencing hearing, the judge presiding over the child pornography case that implicated David Suarez, 24, called it "unusual" and "unique."
“We’re using more water than we are guaranteed to have access to now," said City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein.
A resolution looking to allow the legislature to consider work requirements on the newly expanded Medicaid program is one step closer to the 2024 ballot.