Planned Parenthood Dealt a Defeat in South Dakota

Federal Court rules that abortion providers must comply with South Dakota’s “Informed Consent” law.

Pro-life activists and supporters learned of a huge victory today in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where judges ruled the state of South Dakota can require abortion doctors to provide specific warnings to patients about just exactly what an abortion is and does.

The much-fought case previously has been to the 8th Circuit for arguments over a preliminary injunction, and the ruling today affirmed part and overturned part of the district court’s decision that eventually resulted.

Under today’s ruling, abortion doctors must:

1. That the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;

2. That [the patient] has an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota;

3. That by having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated.

The only item the court said the state could not require was a notice from abortionists to patients about the higher risks of suicide linked to abortion, concluding that such terms as “relative risk” and such were not well-defined.

The opinion was written by Diana E. Murphy and joined by Michael Joseph Mellow. Raymond W. Gruender joined the opinion except for a special dissent that the one portion of the law that was thrown out also should have been affirmed.

The law was the first of several huge battles the State of South Dakota and its pro-life community have launched in their war against the Roe vs. Wade decision that authorized legal abortions throughout the nation in 1973.

This “informed consent” law was adopted in 2005 and still is not yet final – there could be further appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. And then just last year the legislature in South Dakota adopted a stunning 72-hour waiting period between the time an abortionist would see a patient and the procedure could happen. That law also requires abortionists to refer patients to a counseling center – and affirm that they have had that counseling – before an abortion can be perpetrated.

The 2005 law already has a long history in the courts. After its adoption, officials with the abortion-industry leading Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and their chief, Carol Ball, sued.

The case challenged House Bill 1166 and a local judge granted a preliminary injunction halting its enforcement, an injunction which first was upheld, then overturned, by the 8th Circuit.

In the eventual district court arguments, Planned Parenthood sought the elimination of all of the requirements, but the judge granted a decision in favor of South Dakota on the requirements to advise about the unborn’s status as a human being and regarding some risks. The judge granted judgment for Planned Parenthood regarding the advisories about the relationship and suicide risk.

The 8th Circuit changed the status of the relationship advisory from unconstitutional to constitutional.


I pray that South Dakota will lead the way in the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the cessation of the infanticide that decision sanctioned. I pray that soon there will no longer be damaged lives of men and women who have chosen abortion and later live through the horrific emotional and psychological consequences.