A single, 25-year-old woman with her dream job has just discovered she is pregnant. And now that Dobbs v. Jackson case has made abortion a decision for the states, she is wondering what her options are in South Dakota.
She isn’t sure if she wants to be a mother, if she is ready to give up her newly blossoming career or if she wants to be tied to the baby’s father. But what can she legally do?
She is not alone in her demographic. Data from 2021 showed that of the total number of abortions performed, more than half were women in their 20s. Only 3% were girls under age 18, and 11% were women over age 35. About 87% of the total women were not married.
What is Legal Now?
When the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision through their ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson case on June 24, 2022 it immediately set in motion South Dakota’s trigger law that was created back in 2005.
The law states that all abortion is now illegal in South Dakota, and anyone who performs an abortion can be prosecuted under a Class 6 felony. The punishment for a Class 6 felony is two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
South Dakota House Bill 1249 puts it this way, “Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is an appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
There are no exceptions for incest or rape. The only exception is when the mother’s life is at risk.
This ruling immediately stopped all abortions, both surgical and chemical, in the state and would require any future abortion appointments to be canceled.
What is South Dakota Doing to Help Pregnant Women?
South Dakota recently launched a website specific to resources for pregnant women. Life.SD.gov has information and referrals to assist women across the state both during their pregnancy and after their baby is born.
What if You Are That 25-Year Old Woman?
You do not have to walk this journey alone.
At Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, we do everything we can to help pregnant women. We offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to help confirm a pregnancy. We also provide education on adoption, abortion, and parenting. All of your information is kept confidential.
If you are like this woman and unsure what to do about your unexpected pregnancy, please contact us. We will provide a listening ear and walk you through some options for your next steps. You are not alone!