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What the leaked U.S. Supreme Court abortion draft decision means for South Dakotans

Adria Botella

The interview posted above is from SDPB's daily public affairs show, In the Moment with Lori Walsh.

A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion provides insight into the potential overruling of the landmark case Roe v. Wade. South Dakota experts say the decision could affect other rights and lead to a statewide election.

Politico obtained the draft of Justice Alito’s majority opinion in a case that would roll back nearly five decades of federally protected abortion rights for Americans. Mike Thompson, J.D., is associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Sioux Falls. He says if the content of the draft opinion remains as currently written, the decision could impact other rights as well.

“The court has recognized that under that umbrella — that sort of private, I-can-guide-my-intimate-relations umbrella — the court has recognized that I have the right to engage in private consensual sex acts, whether those are homosexual or heterosexual, the right to marry a person of the same sex, the right to marry a person of a different race, the right to raise my kids as I want," Thompson says. "All those particular rights have been catalogued under this general penumbra of privacy.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has said she will immediately call for a special legislative session if Roe v. Wade is overturned. She’s pledging “to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.”

Sarah Stoesz is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

“We are waiting to see what the people of South Dakota would like us to do," Stoesz says. "Obviously because we’ve had a lot of significant and successful experience with ballot initiatives in the past, we’re not afraid of that work. We’re quite confident that if a direct challenge to an abortion ban were to be on the ballot again in South Dakota that it is winnable.”

Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the document. An investigation into the leak is ongoing. Official Supreme Court decisions are anticipated prior to the end of June. Until then, abortion remains legal.

Lori Walsh is the host and senior producer of In the Moment.
Chris is a producer for In the Moment.