U.S. Judge Throws Out Much of South Dakota Abortion Law

<i> Associated Press</i>

A federal judge has gutted a large part of South Dakota’s controversial 1993 abortion law, saying its requirement for parental notification when an underage girl seeks an abortion cannot be enforced.

The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Richard Battey of Rapid City also threw out sections of the law dealing with criminal penalties and civil lawsuits, saying both would have a chilling effect on the availability of abortion services in the state.

But the judge said it is legal for the state to require doctors to give women information on the medical risks at least 24 hours before an abortion.

No parental notification requirement can be ordered unless the law also allows judges to be approached by minors wishing to prove they are mature enough to make the decision themselves or that the decision to get an abortion is in the minor’s best interest, he said.


Planned Parenthood and Dr. Buck Williams contested the abortion law last year in federal court. Williams, of Sioux Falls, is the only doctor in the state who performs abortions.