Lifestyle & Belief

South Dakota abortion suicide warning upheld by appeals court


Pregnant Susanne Friis Hasche shows her stomach painted by Danish artist Lotte Ipsen during a photo exhibition on August 12, 2011, in the Round Tower of Copenhagen.



A federal appeals court has upheld a controversial abortion law in South Dakota. The law, passed in 2005, requires doctors to tell women seeking abortions that they will be at an increased risk of suicide if they have the procedure done, the Associated Press reported. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the law. But in a 7-4 ruling, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suicide warning mandate today.  

"This ruling by the 8th Circuit Court represents the greatest intrusion by the government into the patient-doctor relationship to date," Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said in a statement to the AP. 

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In court, opponents and supporters of the law both presented studies examining the abortion-suicide link. While some studies do show a link, Planned Parenthood has argued that the studies only show correlation, but not causation. In the end, the appeals court decided that establishing causation shouldn't be necessary, Reuters reported. "Various studies found this correlation to hold," Judge Raymond Gruender wrote in a 27-page opinion.

Other judges argued that the science isn't strong enough to support the law."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," Judge Diana Murphy wrote, according to Reuters.