The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a determination that South Dakota’s abortion statutes are unconstitutional. The reason? Hospitals are not available to perform abortions. Since the 8th Circuit is basically saying none of the state’s 66 hospitals will perform abortions, it would seem to present a strong argument why clinics that perform abortions are necessary. But….
The statutes basically say clinics can perform abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy only if a hospital is not available. The trial court reasoned that because hospitals are available, requiring a woman to go to a hospital instead of a clinic was an undue burden. The 8th Circuit said — probably correctly — that in reality no hospitals in South Dakota perform abortions. Because the trial court’s ruling is based on a faulty premise, the case has to go back for further constitutional analysis.