Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we have witnessed an outpouring of misinformation attempting to discredit the pro-life movement as cold and uncaring toward pregnant mothers. A false narrative has been preached that pro-life laws prohibit doctors from saving the life of the mother, or that a doctor must wait until she is “at death’s door” before implementing life-saving procedures. These claims couldn’t be further from the truth, and the SD Legislature has stepped in to combat the lies.

HB 1224, sponsored by Representative Rehfeldt and Senator Tobin, would “require the creation of an informational video and other materials describing the state’s abortion law and medical care for a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions.” The Secretary of Health estimated the project will cost under $50,000 and the funds have already been set aside from the Department of Social Services’s budget.

Senator Nesiba, the sole senator who stood in opposition to the bill at the hearing, argued that because the video would not provide insight on how doctors should respond in all possible circumstances, it would not be helpful in alleviating confusion. He peppered Senator Tobin with questions about conjoined twins, cases of ruptured membrane, and other complications that can occur during pregnancy, wondering if all of those specifics would be included in the informational video.

Senator Tobin responded to his inquiries by explaining, “There will not be specific circumstances in this video. That’s the problem with healthcare, there are so many different circumstances that you have to allow doctors’ discretion and in that case [of conjoined twins], if that was threatening the life of the mother, then that’s something the doctor would be able to handle under current law.”

There are thousands of unique situations that will arise during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and HB1244 will help explain to doctors that they are able to use their own judgment when it comes to doing what is necessary to save the life of the mother.

“In an emergency, you save the mother,” Tobin stated. “This is the way it has been in medicine since medicine’s inception. In an emergency, you do what you need to do. It’s as simple as that. This video would provide clarity only on the current law. Before this trigger law, if a mom was losing blood and was going to die, they would do what they needed to save her. After the trigger law, it is exactly the same.” (emphasis added)

The issue at hand is not altering current SD abortion laws – it’s simply making the laws that already exist easier to interpret. This bill can do nothing but benefit doctors and patients by allowing their care providers to fully understand the options at their disposal when it comes to saving the life of the mother. The bill easily passed committee with a sweeping majority of 8-1.