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Informed Consent

Protecting South Dakota Informed Consent and Pregnancy Resource Centers

Americans United for Life has filed two pro-life briefs in Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota v. Noem. Nearly ten years ago, South Dakota found abortion businesses were not properly securing a woman’s informed consent before conducting abortions, which was “contrary to the best interests of the pregnant mother and her child.” To remedy the situation, South Dakota passed an anti-coercion law directing women to receive neutral informed consent counseling at a state-approved registered pregnancy help center before obtaining an abortion. 

Americans United for Life filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. Along with local counsel, Timothy Belz of Clayton Plaza Law Group, LC, we argued the law is constitutional under the undue burden standard, which permits abortion regulations that do not have “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” Informed consent is a cornerstone of medicine and South Dakota’s law ensures a woman has given her informed consent prior to an abortion taking place. The law similarly mitigates domestic violence, which is a pressing concern for mothers pursuing abortion.

Working with Edward Scott Lloyd of the Law Office of E. Scott Lloyd, PLLC, we filed a second friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Heartbeat International. In the brief, we discussed the important work of pregnancy help centers and why the non-medical component of South Dakota’s law guarantees a woman’s informed consent is truly informed and voluntary.

“Pregnancy help centers are assisting women across the nation,” said Danielle White, Heartbeat International General Counsel. “They provide counseling, support, and practical resources that abortion clinics do not and cannot supply. Women considering abortion are under tremendous stress and face a life-altering decision. Counseling from South Dakota pregnancy help centers safeguards a woman’s informed consent, addressing underlying issues of coercion, distress, and insufficient information about how abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

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