In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision repealing the Roe v. Wade ruling and returning key decisions about abortion access to the state level, a number of prominent pro-abortion activists and Democratic officials have attempted to portray conservative efforts to implement restrictions as a potentially deadly war on women.
As Republican South Dakota state Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt argues, however, these critiques are rooted in partisan misinformation — and she has introduced a bill aimed at countering the disingenuous rhetoric of the left.
"The abortion industry has sown confusion to justify their political agenda, endangering women’s lives. Who can argue against providing medical education?"@kelsey_pritch w/ @BreccanFThies & @UnvarnishedGME on SD bill to combat abortion misinformation: https://t.co/ReBvOcvDhD
— SBA Pro-Life America (@sbaprolife) January 31, 2024
The so-called “Med Ed Bill,” which she brought to the floor of the state legislature on Wednesday, is aimed at promoting factual information reflecting what the state’s abortion restrictions actually mean.
Rehfeldt stressed the perceived need for her legislation since the hot-button topic of abortion “has really just become this political warzone” in the post-Roe political environment.
“What we’re doing in South Dakota [is] putting women and babies first,” she asserted. “We’re making sure that, if there is confusion for providers, that we’re stepping up to the plate where other people are not providing clarification.”
While current restrictions in the state do allow for criminal charges against abortion providers in some cases, they do not prohibit the procedure in situations where the life of the mother is at risk. In response to critics who say the existing prohibitions are too imprecise, Rehfeldt’s proposed legislation seeks to provide additional clarity.
“Our laws have always protected moms and given them the ability to receive treatment for miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy,” she affirmed. “South Dakota law has been consistent in that and, even now, with this bill, our laws are not changing.”
Her proposal came as GOP legislators pushed for a resolution this week expressing opposition to a proposed amendment that would expand abortion rights in the state. Despite his objection to the amendment, House Majority Leader Will Mortenson invited the founder of an organization defending the amendment to make his case before lawmakers.
“The measure would affect generations of South Dakotans and would repeal dozens of sections of code containing health and safety protections for mothers, medical providers, and children,” Mortenson argued. “It has been described as one of the most extreme in the nation.”