Federal Appeals Court Rules South Dakota Doctors Must Warn Women Seeking Abortions Of Suicide Risks

abortion protest

Photo: Wesley Fryer/Flickr

Even though an abortion-rights group claims there’s no evidence to support it, a federal appellate court has ruled South Dakota abortion clinics must inform women seeking abortions they face greater suicide risks.The court’s ruling solidifies a state statute that requires doctors inform women they are exposing themselves to a greater risk of suicide by seeking an abortion.

Planned Parenthood, which filed suit to oppose the law in 2005, said it would “burden abortion rights,” The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported Tuesday.

A U.S. District Court in the state originally sided with Planned Parenthood and barred enforcement of the law. However, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the district court’s decision.

The appellate court acknowledged there is “medical and scientific uncertainty,” about the relationship between abortion and suicide. But the court found that, because that link hasn’t definitively been debunked, the state’s law isn’t misleading and patients should be informed about a risk.

Judge Diana Murphy, who wrote the dissent, took issue with the court relying on less-than-definitive science, claiming the law is “forcing doctors to inform women that abortion subjects them to a risk which the record medical evidence refutes.”

Currently, Planned Parenthood is assessing its options for pursuing the case.

“Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy,” Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota said in a statement, according to Law Blog.

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