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Senate committee passes bill that changes definition of abortion

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Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen

PIERRE | South Dakota will get a new definition of abortion with the passage of HB1114. The bill was unanimously approved Tuesday morning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In current statute, the definition of abortion is “the use of any means to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination with those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the fetus.”

HB1114 changes the definition to “intentional termination of the life of a human being in the uterus.”

“The current definition is simply deficient,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids. “It doesn’t cover all abortions.”

Hansen explained that the current definition doesn’t cover selective reduction. He used the example of a mother carrying three fetuses who wants only one child. Through selective reduction, two of the fetuses are aborted, but the pregnancy isn’t terminated.

“It’s clear that two children were aborted,” he said.

The new definition is reflected in other South Dakota statutes, according to Hansen.

“It’s more direct,” Hansen said of the new definition. “It’s scientifically accurate.”

The bill was endorsed by the committee on a 7-0 vote and now goes to the full Senate.

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