Reproductive Rights Updates: South Dakota & Michigan

South Dakota has long waged a war to be the state most hostile to autonomy (for those keeping track Mississippi is hoping to surpass them soon, with Kansas being heavy competition) and, as such, has spent some time in court defending its various legislation designed to interfere with access and autonomy in health care.

Last December I posted that a federal appeals court had agreed to re-hear arguments regarding one particular aspect of then-recently passed legislation that would require doctors to lie to people seeking abortions by informing them that abortion may lead to wanting to commit suicide. Lie. It's a well-documented outright lie (.pdf).

On Tuesday of this week, the court upheld the legislation requiring doctors to lie to people--and the state of South Dakota has apparently spent $377,335 dollars to defend this specious, unethical legislation.
The defense of a 2005 abortion law has cost the taxpayers of South Dakota $377,735, according to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office.

On Tuesday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a provision in the informed consent law that requires doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that the procedure could lead to an increased risk of suicide.
From the 2008 American Psychological Association Mental Health and Abortion report (.pdf):
The most methodologically strong studies in this group showed that interpersonal concerns, including feelings of stigma, perceived need for secrecy, exposure to antiabortion picketing, and low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision, negatively affected women’s postabortion psychological experiences.


[T]his Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion concludes that the most methodologi- cally sound research indicates that among women who have a legal, first-trimester abortion of an un-planned pregnancy for nontherapeutic reasons, the relative risks of mental health problems are no greater than the risks among women who deliver an un- planned pregnancy.
Which backed up a 1990 report that came to the same conclusions. So, South Dakota, since you are all about "informed consent", I can't wait to see the legislation requiring doctors to inform people who want to continue a pregnancy about how doing so may lead to wanting to commit suicide. It's all about "protecting women", right?


I'm sure you recall the recent events in Michigan where a House legislator was sanctioned and silenced by the Republican leadership, not for saying "vagina" (though that did get a reaction from her colleagues), but for saying "no means no" in response to more anti-autonomy legislation (which ultimately passed the House). Well:
With only 19 hours public notice, the Senate Judiciary Committee met Thursday morning and pushed through a controversial anti-abortion bill that sparked controversy in the House of Representatives last month.

At the end of a two-hour session almost solely devoted to the abortion bill, the committee recommended the bill to the full Senate with a vote of 3-1.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City, would add regulations to clinics that perform abortions and requires fetal remains past 10 weeks to be treated as a deceased infant.
I have discussed my miscarriage (note: emotionally graphic) here before, in where I miscarried at home. I passed everything into the toilet. This is not uncommon. I was in my 10th week of gestation. But, you see, I miscarried at home. So, under this legislation, it wouldn't necessarily matter. Its aim is for people who have abortions.
"Miscarriage" means the spontaneous expulsion of a nonviable fetus that has completed less than 20 weeks of gestation.


(5) If a fetal death occurs without medical attendance at or after the delivery or if inquiry is required by the medical examiner, the attendant, mother, or other person having knowledge of the fetal death shall notify the medical examiner who shall investigate the cause and prepare and file the fetal death report. Except as otherwise specifically provided, this section and section 2848 do not apply to a miscarriage that occurs outside an institution.


Sec. 2836. (1) ALL fetal remains resulting from abortions shall be disposed of by means lawful for other dead bodies, including burial, cremation, or interment. Unless the mother has provided written consent for research on the fetal remains under section 2688, a physician who performs an abortion shall arrange for the final disposition of the fetal remains resulting from the abortion. If the fetal remains resulting from an abortion are disposed of by cremation, the fetal remains shall be incinerated separately from any other medical waste. However, this subsection does not prohibit the simultaneous cremation of fetal remains with products of conception or other fetal remains resulting from abortions.

(2) This section does not require a physician to discuss the final disposition of the fetal remains with the mother before performing the abortion, nor does it require a physician to obtain authorization from the mother for the final disposition of the fetal remains upon completion of the abortion.
All "fetal remains" are equal but some are more equal than others.

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