Why The South Dakota Abortion-’Suicide’ Ruling Should Infuriate You
12:45 pm, July 27th | by Amy Tennery
A South Dakota Court of Appeals this week ruled that abortion providers must inform their patients of an “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide,” among the other possible side effects of pregnancy termination. Of course, this ruling would make a lot more sense if an “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide” among women who receive abortions were medically proven. Whoops.
The ruling comes after a long fight by Planned Parenthood, the plaintiff in the case and, incidentally, the only remaining abortion provider in the state of South Dakota. Planned Parenthood had challenged the so-called “informed consent” law, according to Mother Jones, which gave abortion providers “a formal script” to read to women. Included in this script was the aforementioned suicide warning.
Planned Parenthood had a problem with this because — oh, yea — there is no increased risk of suicide after you get an abortion. In fact, the American Psychological Association determined that “among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental-health problems is no greater than if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.” Basically your risk of suicide, if you have an unplanned pregnancy, is the same whether you go forward with the pregnancy for terminate it. So, to put it bluntly, as The Daily Beast did, South Dakota has “legalize[d] lies.”
In its opinion, the court wrote that the “suicide advisory presents neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians’ free speech rights,” according to Mother Jones. Of course, when a law is literally requiring doctors to tell their patients something that is medically unproven and designed to intimidate women, one can’t help but wonder about that whole “free speech” thing. The ruling goes beyond simple pro-choice, pro-life debate. It’s robbing women of their right to believe that when they go into a doctor’s office, they’ll be given medically accurate information — one free of winks or scare quotes.