Ben Johnson


Abortion lobby lawsuits cost South Dakota $377,735

Ben Johnson

PIERRE, July 30, 2012, ( – Planned Parenthood’s legal fight to overturn a South Dakota law that requires doctors to inform women about the risks of undergoing an abortion has cost the state’s taxpayers $377,735, according to Attorney General Marty Jackley.

On Tuesday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the last contested portion of the 2005 pro-life law.

H.B. 1166 requires that doctors inform pre-abortive women that abortion increases their chance of hemorrhages, infertility, depression and suicide; describe fetal development at the unborn child’s gestational age; and state that abortion “will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas filed suit upon its passage.

Many of the state’s lawmakers assumed the price tag would be much higher, because the litigation had stretched over seven years. 

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The 8th Circuit Appeals Court found the majority of the law constitutional last September, but the suicide link remained an open question, until this week.

The costs were held down in part because private donors, including the Alpha Center and Black Hills Crisis Pregnancy Center, defrayed part of this cost.

“Any decision that a pregnant mother makes in the context of her considering an abortion that will deprive her of the joy and fulfillment of a life long relationship with her child must be totally voluntary and well-informed,” said Leslee Unruh, the founder of the Alpha Center, a pregnancy counseling center in Sioux Falls. She said the court victory is “a step towards achieving that goal for the women of South Dakota.”

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