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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

GOP Leaders On Prenatal Medicaid, Abortion

At a weekly legislative news conference, GOP leaders fielded questions about abortion and Medicaid expansion to pregnant women for prenatal care. This is for women not covered by any other health policy and falling above the income level to qualify for Medicaid currently.

Senator Deb Peters says the cost of covering those women is estimated to be $2.6 million from the general fund and $3.7 million from federal funding. She says one Democratic and two Republican caucuses decide how the state’s money is spent.

“Over the next two to three weeks, to wind down session, we marry up all of the priorities from the three different caucuses,” Peters says. “This bill will probably be in part of those mixes as far as where the priorities are. If it falls to the bottom of the priority list of any one of the caucuses, then that bill will be killed. But it’s all part of the priority process.”

Peters says the mortality rate for babies has dropped steadily over the years.

Representative Justin Cronin says prenatal care is cost-effective if it occurs early enough.

Asked about their stance on House Bill 1237, which increases the 72-hour waiting period for abortion, both Peters and Cronin say they’re prolife and have not yet read the bill. Peters says she’s heard that there is disagreement among prolife groups, and she’ll wait to hear arguments before deciding whether to support the bill.