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South Dakota Women Applaud Court Decision Requiring Abortion Providers to Obey the Law and Tell the Truth

Contact: Harold Cassidy, Chief Legal Counsel, Intervenors, 732-757-5570; Kimberly Martinez, Executive Director, Alpha Center, 605-321-1461; Stacey Wollman, Executive Director, Black Hills CRD, 605-545-0974

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota, June 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- This morning, Friday, June 27, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit filed its opinion in Planned Parenthood et al v. Rounds et al, Alpha Center et al, Intervenors. The Court vacated a temporary injunction that had been issued by the trial court. This decision requires abortion providers tell women, in writing, that the abortion procedure "will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."

The opinion of the Eighth Circuit addresses the important issue of whether South Dakota can enforce its 2005 Informed Consent Law while the constitutionality of its requirements is litigated in court. Much of the opinion discusses whether the statement "abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being" is truthful, non-misleading and relevant to women's decisions to obtain abortions. The majority found that Planned Parenthood had "submitted no evidence" that this statement was false, misleading, or irrelevant. SLIP OP. 19.

For forty years, Planned Parenthood and abortion activists have denied the fact that abortion kills a separate human being. Denial of this fact was necessary and part of a national strategy to create a culture of abortion for the entire nation according to sworn testimony of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws (NARAL). Today, a majority of the judges on the Eighth Circuit have clearly and decisively declared that South Dakota need not deny the truth, "the evidence submitted by the parties regarding the truthfulness and relevance of the disclosure in § 7(1)(b) generates little dispute." SLIP OP. at 18.

A spokeswoman for the Intervenor Alpha Center, Kimberly Martinez, said, "We are delighted by the Court's decision. Alpha Center exists to tell South Dakota women the whole truth about their pregnancies. Thanks to today's decision by the court, women are now going to be given the truth by abortion providers, who have been fighting to avoid doing so for years." Stacy Wollman, executive director for Black Hills Crisis Pregnancy Center, was equally pleased. "Women deserve to be told the truth. The South Dakota legislature recognized this fact three years ago, and today, so did the court. It is a great day for women throughout South Dakota, including the women we see in Rapid City."

For thirty years or so, abortion clinics and abortion doctors have been given standing in the courts to litigate what they claim to be the interests of women. During that time, those clinics and abortion doctors have never raised the fundamental constitutional rights of the pregnant mothers to maintain their relationship with their children; or their right to make informed decisions for their children. Nor have they ever sought to protect the women's right to their health by disclosing many of the risks that abortion poses to the mother.

Harold Cassidy, chief counsel for the Interveners, said: "Planned Parenthood, in a shocking, and perhaps perverse, logic, argued that abortion doctors were harmed by being required to tell women the truth, and this supposed harm outweighed the damage to pregnant mothers who lost their children because of these doctors' failure to make material disclosures." Dr. Glenn A. Ridder, one of the intervening parties, observed: "The doctor who has a pregnant mother as a patient in reality has two separate patients, the mother and the child. It is a basic truth that the mother can not make an informed judgment about the welfare of the child or herself if the mother isn't told -- in unambiguous language -- the consent she is able to give to an abortion doctor authorizes the termination of the life of the doctor's second patient."

This case makes clear that the personal interests and philosophies of these clinics and abortion doctors conflict with women's interests. We are hopeful that the courts will recognize these conflicts, and acknowledge that these clinics and doctors do not advance the mother's most important interests. Abortion providers exist only terminate the mother's relationship with her child. The Informed Consent Statute is designed to guard against the negligence and misrepresentations by providers, since many women would not obtain abortions if properly informed.

What the public record in this case reveals is that South Dakota women receive no protection of their most important rights under the law, existing before the new Informed Consent Statute, and the practices of the abortion facility in Sioux Falls. If a woman calls Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls inquiring about an abortion, an employee with no medical training schedules the surgical procedure. When the woman arrives, she is required to sign a consent to an abortion and pay for it before receiving any counseling. When she sees a "patient educator" she receives no information about the child, no information about fetal development, or what it is that is being removed. The "educators" all admit they know nothing (or little) about human embryology, human genetics or molecular biology. Some of them do not know when an embryo's heart first starts to beat or how many chromosomes the human embryo has. In many cases, women cry during the session with the "educator," but the doctors do the abortion anyway. There is no true patient-physician relationship and the out-of-state doctor who flies into Sioux Falls for six hours most often only sees the woman for the four to seven minutes it takes to perform the surgery scheduled by the lay person who takes the woman's call. See, U.S. District Court Record, Intervenors' Statement of Material Facts; Pacer document 183.

We believe this case is of great importance to the women of South Dakota. This opinion exposes many of the weaknesses of Planned Parenthood's arguments. We are confident that the courts will uphold the statute as a reasonable measure to protect the rights of the women of South Dakota.

We are delighted that the majority opinion recognizes the humanity of the unborn is not a matter of ideology, but rather a simple scientific fact. The South Dakota act is designed to provide basic information necessary for a pregnant mother to make an informed decision before she gives up her fundamental rights. In the process, it allows her to apply her own personal, moral, and ethical values to the facts once they are disclosed. Because the matter is still before the courts, the Intervenors will not comment beyond this statement, other than as indicated below.