South Dakota Bill To Fight Abortion Law Misconceptions

A new bill introduced by Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R-SD) aims to fight misinformation surrounding abortion law in South Dakota. The Medical Education Bill, HB 1224, is colloquially referred to as the “Med Ed Bill” and intends to educate medical providers on when they can legally provide abortions when a mother’s life is at risk.

“The abortion topic has really just become this political warzone,” Rehfeldt said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “What we’re doing in South Dakota [is] putting women and babies first. We’re making sure that, if there is confusion for providers, that we’re stepping up to the plate where other people are not providing clarification.”

The Med Ed Bill will allocate funds for the state Department of Health to work together with the state attorney general’s office and healthcare providers to create resources for doctors. These resources, which will include an informational video, will clarify when life-of-the-mother exceptions will apply, and how doctors are legally protected when using their best judgment without ill intent.

In South Dakota, performing an unnecessary abortion is a Class 6 Felony, with a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Rehfeldt has likened abortion up-to-birth to “homicide,” and is a staunch believer that medical professionals should prioritize the lives of those in their care— both mothers and their children. Rehfeldt practiced as a nurse anesthetist herself until she took office in 2021, and has a doctorate in nursing.

A common talking point in Democrats’ pursuit of the “right” to kill unborn babies is that women in life-threatening situations will be unable to receive medical care. Videos like the one below spread messages suggesting that life-of-the-mother exceptions are too vague to help women in dangerous situations, as doctors could be too afraid of accidentally breaking the law.

Most abortion bans, such as South Dakota’s, state that life-of-the-mother exceptions are allowed under “appropriate and reasonable medical judgment,” which would protect any adequate doctor before a jury of responsible citizens.

But this bill takes that a step further, creating resources to educate doctors and alleviate concerns about legal consequences. While one might hope that doctors are already confident enough to make life-saving calls, the Med Ed Bill should help further reduce the fear of legal pressure instilled by the abortion industry.

The bill is expected to receive bipartisan support. “Who can argue with providing medical education?” Rehfeldt said. “I think women’s health should be our priority and not a piece of politics.”