Appeals Court Rules Women Have Existing Relationship with Fetus

On Friday, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned US District Judge Karen Schreier’s ruling to block a provision in a South Dakota law requiring that doctors tell women seeking abortions that they have “an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota.” Judge Schreier struck down the provision two years ago stating that a relationship can only exist between two people and according to the US Supreme Court, fetuses are not legally people. The provision is part of an anti-abortion law that states that in order for an abortion to be considered voluntary, doctors most provide women with certain pieces of information.

Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, stated, “This law really isn’t about health and safety, it’s really about forcibly trying to dissuade a woman from getting an abortion any way the state can.”

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals did, however, rule to uphold Judge Schreier’s decision to block enforcement of another provision of the law that requires that doctors tell women seeking abortions that women who undergo the procedure are more likely to commit suicide, which the court argued was unsubstantiated.

Associated Press 9/3/11; Reuters 9/2/11; Huffington Post 9/2/11

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