PIERRE | A South Dakota Senate panel on Friday advanced Gov. Kristi Noem's bill to give the state control over a form that women must sign before they can have an abortion.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted unanimously to advance the measure to the chamber's floor. Noem told reporters after the vote that abortion providers have been "blurring the lines" on what the law requires for informed consent to get an abortion in South Dakota.
Noem's general counsel, Tom Hart, told the committee that the bill would require providers to use a state Department of Health form to ensure disclosures in law are "accurately and effectively" provided to women seeking an abortion. He said Planned Parenthood has refused to use the department's form and is instead using "language in the disclosures that is contradictory to the purpose" of the law.
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, which runs South Dakota's only abortion clinic, opposes the bill. Spokeswoman Jen Aulwes said the organization uses its own form that complies with the law and that the state's current version contains "medical misinformation."
"This is not about a woman's right to know all of the information before she makes her decision. A woman already has that right," Aulwes said. "This is about politicians in South Dakota having their own specific agenda around abortion and trying to insert themselves in between a woman and her doctor."
The group also questions who would be liable, the state or Planned Parenthood, if a patient makes a claim that they were misinformed about a procedure they were undergoing, Aulwes said.
She said the Department of Health annually audits Planned Parenthood's consent form and has never found the group is out of compliance with the law. But lawmakers approved a measure last year establishing legislative findings that Sioux Falls Planned Parenthood officials have provided pre-abortion counseling that violates state mandatory disclosure requirements.
The committee on Friday rejected a bill to require providers before performing an abortion to display sonogram images and make audible a fetal heartbeat, if present.