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Lawmakers bringing bill adding exceptions to abortion ban for health of mother

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This story is based on an interview from SDPB's daily public affairs show, In the Moment with Lori Walsh.

South Dakota lawmakers are preparing to bring a bill allowing exceptions to the state’s abortion ban in cases where the mother’s health is in question.

The ban is based off a broad 2005 trigger law that went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It only allows exceptions to save the life of the mother.

Erin Tobin is a Republican Senator from Winner. She’s also a nurse practitioner.

She said it’s important for legislators to understand the impact of abortion laws in a hospital or clinical setting.

”That’s the approach we’re taking now, is education," Tobin said. "And often, it’s an example of what it will look like, how that law may affect a mother who is pregnant, and how that proceeds forward.”

So far, the only abortion-related legislation brought forth is a concurrent resolution "affirming the legislature's support" of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. No bills creating laws or adding legal framework to the state's ban have been introduced.

Tobin said that will soon change.

”We are bringing a bill to allow for an exception for the health of the mother," Tobin said. "We know that this is an issue that will come up. If it hasn’t already come up, and we haven’t heard about it. We want to keep mothers and babies as safe as possible.”

Under the existing trigger law, abortion is illegal "unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female." Tobin did not specify the extent the new law would expand a health exemption.

The deadline to introduce new individual bills is Feb. 1.