Protest Harmful Anti-Abortion Legislation in South Dakota

Target: South Dakota legislature

Goal: Don’t make it legal to murder abortion doctors or force women to receive misleading counseling prior to having an abortion.

South Dakota’s track record on reproductive freedoms is not a good one. Currently, the South Dakota legislature is introducing new bills which could result in giving pregnant people misinformation, as well as a bill which could even treat the murder of abortion providers as “justifiable homicide.” Recently, the legislature has put forth House Bill 1217, a bill which would force pregnant people to receive counseling from a Crisis Pregnancy Center prior to having an abortion. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are notorious for trying to scare women with false information about the risks of abortion; they promote medically inaccurate information and have an anti-choice agenda.

The proposed legislation would also require women to wait 72 hours following counseling before being able to procure an abortion. Furthermore, South Dakota continues to add even more deleterious anti-choice bills. Now, the South Dakota legislature has put forth a new bill, House Bill 1171, which defines justifiable homicide as the attempt to harm a person’s unborn child. Pro-choice activists have expressed concern that this language could be used to target abortion providers as “justifiable homicides.” Rep. Phil Jensen, the bill’s sponsor, has commented: “There’s no way in the world that I or any other representatives wish to see abortion doctors murdered. So we’re looking at some language that will include that. We’re looking at some language that would protect abortion providers.” He is currently considering dropping the bill altogether.

While it’s a step in the right direction for Rep. Jensen to show a willingness to amend or drop  a bill with such potential consequences, South Dakota need to reconsider more of its harmful anti-choice legislation. Sign the petition to make an appeal to South Dakota’s legislature for a more thorough reconsideration of the burdens its proposed laws would put on pregnant people and abortion providers.


Dear legislature of the state of South Dakota,

While we are gratified that Rep. Phil Jensen is considering amending or dropping House Bill 1171, the bill which has resulted in concern that the murder of abortion providers might be “justifiable homicide,” we are concerned about the overall push for anti-choice legislation in South Dakota. Rep. Roger Hunt has explained that his aim in sponsoring a bill that would require women to seek CPC counselling was to “drastically reduce” the number of abortions. Pro-choice activists sympathize with the desire to reduce abortions, but we believe the path to abortion reduction can be found through ease of access to contraception, as well as comprehensive sexual education. We do not believe that distributing medically inaccurate information to pregnant people will reduce abortions; besides, whether it would or would not, it is unethical, dishonest, and penalizes people who need abortion services by subjecting them to wait lines and the counselling of groups who have anti-choice agendas.

We believe that pregnant people are capable of making their own decisions with the use of the honest medical information which is given to them by doctors prior to abortions. We do not believe that 72 hours of waiting time is necessary, nor do we believe that multiple consultations are necessary, and we certainly do not believe that the government has any place in mandating the spread of misinformation from agenda-based, non-medical organizations. If women wish to consult with CPCs of their own volition, that is one thing, but the government requiring that they do so is quite another. Please consider that women already know what they are choosing to do with their bodies and do not pass these bills, or any bills designed to restrict and stigmatize choice. We can “drastically reduce” abortions by reducing unwanted pregnancies, and we can do that through measures focused on contraception.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: “Category:Maps_of_South_Dakota” via Wikimedia Commons

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