South Dakota has been among the most active states, passing five new laws, including a "trigger" law that would impose an immediate abortion ban after any Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade .
Last year, "there was an attempt to engage in a full-frontal assault of Roe versus Wade " with an outright ban, said Brock L. Greenfield, a state senator who is director of South Dakota Right to Life. But similar bills have been found unconstitutional, and Gov. Mike Rounds (R) vetoed the bill on technical grounds.
"This year, the pro-life forces united in order to pass some legislation," Greenfield said. The other measures include stricter parental notification requirements and a provision adding an "unborn child" as a distinct victim to the state's criminal code for charges of murder in the first and second degree.
In its new informed-consent law, South Dakota requires physicians to tell women seeking an abortion about the "existing relationship between a pregnant woman
and her unborn child," and that all abortions "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being."
The language in that law was written with the expectation it could be used to "help tear down the wall put up by the Roe versus Wade decision," Greenfield said.
For the small and dwindling number of physicians providing abortions, it has been frustrating to encounter new regulations dictating non-medical requirements such as the width of doorways and the size of hallways, said Steven Emmert, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.
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