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What could a leaked Supreme Court draft document mean for abortion in the Midwest?

Supreme Court draft documents detail a possible change to abortion laws
The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:57 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A draft opinion from some Supreme Court Justices that could potentially overturn Roe Versus Wade was leaked last night.

If that happens, it would give states the ability to ban abortions.

John Roberts, Supreme Court Chief Justice, notes the opinion is not final and says to expect an actual ruling before June 30.

A possible decision Sarah A. Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Central States, says they “are furious” about coming to fruition. However, she says they’re ready for this fight, and “every single one of Planned Parenthood’s clinical doors are open today, and they will remain so if abortion becomes illegal in this country.”

“When I first got to work today,” explains Dr. Sarah Traxler, Chief Medical Officer with Planned Parenthood Central States, “I was sad, grieved, enraged.” She says it was a similar tone around the office, but that they’ll continue to provide abortion care until the bitter end, but “it’s devastating to consider this basic breach of health care.”

Roe vs. Wade has been around for some 50 years, protecting a woman’s right to choose abortion no matter where in the country. Which South Dakota Right to Life says in a statement is “one of the worst court decisions ever authored, and it’s way beyond time that the US Supreme Court reverse the terrible decision.”

Stoesz calls that “one of the true moral outrages of this situation.”

Bearing in mind, overturning Roe vs. Wade wouldn’t mean every state wouldn’t allow abortion, just those with governing bodies who are against it. Where Stoesz says “both North Dakota and South Dakota have trigger bans on the books.”

She believes that if a decision is made that is “as far reaching as the one that was described in draft,” then abortion would immediately become illegal state wide in the Dakotas. However, Traxler adds “we have all sort of been planning for this worst case scenario.”

A scenario unraveling South Dakota Right to Life says is past due, and “would finally be able to ensure the life of every unborn child in our state is protected.”

Stoesz, on the other hand, says a lack of access to an abortion is something they say themselves, and a majority of voters do not wish to see, “even though politicians in those two states operate as though it does matter what voters think.”

Regardless of any decision, they intend to look for ways to get those who are seeking an abortion in a state where it may no longer be legal to do so, and who may not have the finances for travel, care from elsewhere. Or, what Traxler calls “a restrictive environment to one in which they can get services.”

In some places virtual consultations with doctors from a different state could be available for those who are in places that abortion becomes illegal, where abortion pills could be shipped in. However, that is not the case in places like South Dakota where doing so isn’t allowed. Traxler says, “Kristi Noem has actually reinforced that in her most recent executive order against medication abortion. So, we would not be able to mail pills to patients living in South Dakota.”

If Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned, Planned Parenthood anticipates their remaining facilities with abortion care will become far busier, and will open up new locations in those areas if need be on account of these political decisions.

“Elections matter,” says Stoesz. A point she brings up, because they look to the past for the ultimate reason these steps may need to be taken in the first place, “because President Trump was able to appoint three justices to the Supreme Court.”

If abortion becomes illegal in South Dakota, Stoesz says Planned Parenthood isn’t sure whether or not it’s a fight the people want, and they “are waiting to see what the people of South Dakota would like us to do.”

South Dakota Right to Life leaves it in the hands of Supreme Court, who can speak for itself, while we wait for the official ruling.

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