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Bill protects mother from prosecution in event of abortion

PIERRE, S.D. – A bill that would ensure that women who have an abortion in the state are not prosecuted has been presented by South Dakota House lawmakers..

HB 1220, sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Reimer (R-Chamberlain), passed unanimously through the House Judiciary committee Wednesday, and clarifies that no woman, under any circumstances, would face prosecution after having an abortion.

The bill is supported by the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office, and several anti-abortion groups across the state.

Though no woman has been prosecuted for having an abortion under South Dakota law, lawmakers felt it was an important clarification under South Dakota’s near-total ban on abortion in the state.

The bill comes as abortion activists are planning to place abortion on the ballot in 2024. If passed, Dakotans for Health’s initiative would make abortion legal through the first two trimesters and easily accessible during the third.

HB 1220 is one of only two bills the legislature has on its docket this year dealing with abortion. Last week, Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R-Sioux Falls) tabled a bill that would have clarified language in the law protecting the life of a mother who needs an abortion for medical reasons. Rehfeldt said negotiations on the bill had fallen through, and it was likely to fail.

Because of a unanimous vote, HB 1220 was placed on the House’s consent calendar. It will be voted on in the House sometime next week.

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