Daily Dispatches

Appeals court upholds South Dakota abortion suicide advisory

Abortion

South Dakota can require abortion providers to warn women seeking abortions that they face an increased risk of suicide if they go through with the procedure, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the portion of the 2005 South Dakota law dealing with the suicide advisory 7-4.

"On its face, the suicide advisory presents neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians' free speech rights," the court wrote in its majority opinion.

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In September, a three-judge panel upheld U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier's decision to overturn the requirement following a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood. The decision Tuesday by the full 11-member court grants judgment to the state and vacates the permanent injunction against enforcing the provision.

The four dissenting judges said multiple studies cited failed to take into account factors such as pre-existing mental health issues, domestic violence, and a young age at the time of pregnancy.

"The most reliable evidence in the record shows that abortion does not have a causal relationship to the risk of suicide and that South Dakota's mandated advisory is not truthful, but actually misleading," Circuit Judge Diana Murphy wrote for the dissenting side.

The state, in supporting the law passed seven years ago, disagreed, submitting several studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals to demonstrate a "statistically significant correlation between abortion and suicide."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Whitney Williams
Whitney Williams

Whitney happily serves WORLD as web editorial assistant. When she's not working from her home office in Texas, she's probably fishing or hunting with her husband.

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