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S.D. Senate Considers 20-Week Abortion Ban

January 26, 2016 — South Dakota lawmakers on Friday introduced a bill (SB 72) that would ban abortion care at 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Black Hills Pioneer reports.

Under current state law, abortion care is legal through 24 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is permitted after 24 weeks when a woman's health or life is endangered.

Bill Details

The state Senate gave the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Monroe (R) and state Rep. Isaac Latterell (R), its first reading on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The bill has 13 co-sponsors in the state Senate and 36 co-sponsors in the state House.

The bill would ban abortion care at 20 weeks, except in cases where the woman faces a "serious health risk." The measure also would require physicians who perform an abortion at 20 weeks or later to attempt to save the fetus.

According to the Pioneer, the bill is based on the medically unfounded claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks of development (Mercer,Black Hills Pioneer, 1/23).