First pro-life 'Med Ed' bill passes South Dakota Senate to clarify abortion 'misinformation'

State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.
State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota. | Getty Images

The South Dakota Senate has approved a first-in-the-nation bill designed to inform doctors and medical professionals about the treatments available to pregnant women experiencing health-threatening or life-threatening conditions under abortion restrictions passed at the state level amid what proponents call a barrage of "misinformation." 

The Republican-controlled body approved House Bill 1224 in a 31-3 vote Thursday. One Democrat joined with Republicans to support the measure, while the three other Democrats in the chamber voted against it. 

The South Dakota House of Representatives approved HB 1224 on Feb. 14. The bill heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem. If she signs it, the South Dakota Department of Health would have until Sept. 1 to create the informational video authorized by the bill. 

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HB 1224 is defined as "an Act to require the creation of an informational video and other materials describing the state's abortion law and medical care for a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions." The measure instructs the South Dakota Department of Health to create an informational video that elaborates on "the state's abortion law and acts that do and do not constitute an abortion." 

South Dakota is one of 15 states that have implemented protections for unborn babies throughout all nine months of pregnancy following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which determined that the U.S. Constitution doesn't contain a right to abortion. South Dakota's law includes an exception in cases where the pregnant woman faces life-threatening conditions.

The video and other materials mandated by the bill will also explain "the most common medical conditions that threaten the life or health of a pregnant woman" and "the generally accepted standards of care applicable to the treatment of a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions."

Additionally, the video should outline "the criteria that a practitioner, exercising reasonable medical judgment, might use in determining the best course of treatment for" a pregnant mother experiencing those conditions and her child. 

Kelsey Pritchard, the state public affairs director for the national pro-life grassroots activist organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement that "South Dakota is showing the rest of the nation how to protect women's lives from the misinformation surrounding abortion laws."

"This bipartisan bill is uncontroversial, and a policy that pro-choice and pro-life Americans alike should support," Pritchard said. "We should all be supportive of making it abundantly clear that pregnant women can and must receive emergency care." 

The activist organization described HB 1224 as "the first legislation of its kind drafted to end the confusion caused by the abortion industry through direct education to medical professionals," saying "other states have taken similar steps administratively, including Oklahoma and Kentucky attorneys general issued advisory opinions."

HB 1224, dubbed a "Med Ed" bill by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, comes as pro-abortion organizations have claimed that bans on abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy prevent women from accessing treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.

Supporters of such laws have disputed the narrative that restrictions on abortion leave women unable to find treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. A fact sheet compiled by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists titled "Myth vs. Fact: Correcting Misinformation on Maternal Medical Care" stressed that "the difference between a miscarriage and an elective abortion is clear."

"In a miscarriage, the baby has already died, and therefore, any treatment of a miscarriage would not be an abortion. The procedures and treatments used for miscarriage management are not prohibited by abortion restrictions," the fact sheet added. Explaining that "an ectopic pregnancy requires removing an embryo to save a mother's life so that both lives are not lost," the fact sheet asserts that "this life-saving treatment is not prevented by any current law restricting or banning abortion."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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