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Federal judge partially upholds South Dakota abortion informed consent law

[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the District of South Dakota [official website] issued a ruling [opinion, PDF] Thursday clarifying what doctors in South Dakota are required to tell women seeking an abortion before performing the procedure, partially upholding a state law. Judge Karen Schreier upheld a provision of a South Dakota abortion law [text] that requires doctors to tell women that an abortion terminates a real, unique human life, but not that abortion increases the risks of suicide and depression. Schreier also struck down a provision that required doctors to say that the woman has an existing relationship with the human life. The ruling years after the informed consent law was passed [JURIST report] in 2005. Schreier originally struck down [JURIST report] the law, but was overruled by the US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit. Both Planned Parenthood [advocacy website], which represented the plaintiffs, and the state are claiming to have won the case, and neither has decided to appeal yet.

Controversy on abortion laws has also continued in other states. Also this week, an Oklahoma state court judge ruled [JURIST report] that a state law [SB 1878, DOC] requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure violates the Oklahoma Constitution [text]. Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (DFPR) [official website] granted doctors a 90-day grace period [JURIST report] for enforcement of the state's parental notification requirement for minors obtaining abortions, a law which one scholar has called "unnecessary" and "dangerous" [JURIST op-ed]. That announcement followed a decision [JURIST report] last month by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that reversed a district court injunction [JURIST report] barring the law's enforcement. In June 2007, the governor of New Hampshire signed a repeal of the state's parental notification law [JURIST report], which never took effect. In 2006, voters in Oregon and California rejected statutes that would have required notification [JURIST report], although those measures allowed minors to request a judge to bypass the requirement.

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