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SD Pro-Choice Groups Praise SCOTUS Ruling

The South Dakota ACLU is celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn parts of a Texas law restricting abortion clinics. (iStockphoto)
The South Dakota ACLU is celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn parts of a Texas law restricting abortion clinics. (iStockphoto)
June 28, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. – Reproductive rights advocates in South Dakota are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-to-3 ruling that has struck down key parts of a Texas law that severely restricts how abortion clinics operate.

The ruling, hailed as a major milestone by pro-choice groups, removes medical practice regulations placed on abortion clinics so restrictive that, since they were enacted in 2013, half of the clinics in Texas were forced to close their doors.

Libby Skarin, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North and South Dakota, says the outcome is the result of a long, hard fight.

"The court recognized that these are just sham laws that do nothing to protect a woman's health, and instead just impose unnecessary and often insurmountable barriers in the path of woman seeking an abortion," she states.

The decision, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, found the Texas law placed an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote in the decision.

Skarin says while challenges remain, Monday's Supreme Court decision could help challenge similar abortion restrictions in the future.

"There aren't any laws in South Dakota that are directly what was discussed at the Supreme Court,” she points out. “But what this decision did do is send a loud signal to these anti-abortion politicians that they can no longer hide behind these sham rationales or these made-up justifications to shut down clinics."

Legal experts say the court's ruling on the Texas law could put similar laws in other states in jeopardy, and could open other regulations restricting abortion to legal challenges as well.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - SD