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Statistics tell a story on informed consent

March 18, 2018 GMT

The latest round of anti-abortion legislation that Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed into state law recently set me wondering.

Why would the Legislature pass SB 110 that specifically and repeatedly criticized Planned Parenthood?

Why didn’t Planned Parenthood, which the legislation described as South Dakota’s only abortion provider, fight back?

Planned Parenthood never sent a lobbyist to testify.

My search took me to Phyllis Schlafly and her national organization, Eagle Forum. She published a 2016 book, “How The Republican Party Became Pro-Life.”

SB 110 makes a specific finding that physicians, agents and employees at the Planned Parenthood facility in Sioux Falls aren’t complying “with the mandatory disclosures required by subsections 34-23A-10.1(1)(b) and (e)(ii).”

Subsection (b) says: “That the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

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Subsection (e) requires the physician provide “A description of all known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors to which the pregnant woman would be subjected.” Among them (ii): “Increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide.”

That led to the annual reports of vital statistics the state Department of Health compiles. They contain many facts about women who sought legal abortions in South Dakota. I sampled three.

From the 2008 report: “Of the 1099 forms received, 1099 indicated that the patient was offered the printed fetal growth and development information. Of the 1099, 1032 did not accept the information while 1035 declined the website information.”

From the 2013 report: “Of the 738 forms received, 737 indicated that the patient was offered the printed materials on public and private assistance agencies. It was reported that 39 patients accepted this information, while 698 did not accept the information.

“Of the 738 forms received, 737 indicated that the patient was offered the Fetal Growth and Development Booklet. It was reported that 44 patients accepted this information, while 693 did not accept the information.

“Of the 738 forms received, 737 indicated that the patient was offered the DOH website address for “Information on Fetal Development, Birth, Abortion and Adoption”. It was reported that 47 patients accepted this information, while 690 did not accept the information.”

The 2016 report is the latest available. It stated: “Of the 562 forms received, 558 indicated that the patient was offered the printed materials on public and private assistance agencies. It was reported that 22 patients accepted this information, while 536 did not accept the information.

“Of the 562 forms received, 558 indicated that the patient was offered the Fetal Growth and Development Booklet. It was reported that 17 patients accepted this information, while 541 did not accept the information.

“Of the 562 forms received, 558 indicated that the patient was offered the DOH website address for “Information on Fetal Development, Birth, Abortion and Adoption”. It was reported that 21 patients accepted this information, while 537 did not accept the information.”

There are many statistics in the reports. They are worth reading.