December 7, 2011 — A full panel of a federal appeals court will hold a Jan. 9 hearing on a South Dakota law requiring physicians to tell women seeking abortion care that the procedure would raise their risk of suicide, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.
The 2005 law has been the subject of multiple court challenges from Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, with mixed results on its various provisions (Walker, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 12/6).
In September, a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the suicide provision but upheld parts requiring physicians to inform women that they have an "existing relationship" with the fetus that is protected by law and that they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The ruling overturned an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier that struck down a requirement that a physician tell a woman she "has an existing relationship with the unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota." Schreier also struck down the suicide provision (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/6).
The state and antiabortion-rights groups appealed, requesting that the full court consider the suicide provision (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/4). This week, groups on both sides expressed confidence that they would prevail (Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 12/6).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership