South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed a package of pro-life bills into law Wednesday that place new requirements on abortion providers including the requirement that a woman view a sonogram and hear the fetal heartbeat before an abortion.
The new laws, which go into effect July 1st, will also require a written consent form, provided by the state, prior to an abortion. They require doctors to report certain data on abortions to the state and also criminalize the causing of an abortion against the woman’s will.
Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, claimed the new laws were unnecessary in a statement Wednesday.
“The state has already squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation fees fighting for medically unnecessary abortion restrictions,” Stoesz said. “The people of South Dakota want their lawmakers to focus on improving the health of our state; instead, they’ve passed more legislation that’s based on medically inaccurate information and contrary to the recommendations of health care professionals.”
However, Gov. Noem argued that the laws give women necessary protections and information about unborn children.
“A strong and growing body of medical research provides evidence that unborn babies can feel, think, and recognize sounds in the womb,” Noem said in a statement regarding the legislation. “These are people, and they must be given the same basic dignities as anyone else.”
“The bills I signed today will crack down on abortion providers in South Dakota by requiring them to provide pregnant moms with specific, scientific information about their baby,” she added. “Additionally, these bills criminalize forced abortions and will give people the opportunity to hear their baby’s heartbeat before having an abortion. I’m grateful for the partnership of the legislature on these bills and the ways we’re working together to protect the unborn.”
The state’s pro-life groups also praised the package of bills.
“South Dakota Right to Life extends our heartfelt appreciation to Governor Noem for her tireless devotion to pregnant mothers and their preborn children,” Dale Bartscher, Executive Director of South Dakota Right to Life commented. “In signing these pro-life bills that had broad legislative support, Governor Noem has demonstrated once again that she is a champion for life.”