A federal judge heard arguments Friday on a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring doctors to tell women that abortion ends a human life, and indicated she will decide soon whether to rule on some or all of the case or move it to trial.
The law requires doctors to disclose to women "that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Besides that biological disclosure, women must be told they have an existing relationship with the fetus and a right to continue a pregnancy, and that suicidal thoughts are a known medical risk.
The South Dakota Legislature passed the measure in 2005 and Planned Parenthood, which operates the state's only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, appealed.
U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier temporarily prevented the law from taking effect, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that order in June 2008, so the state began enforcing it.
Schreier must decide whether to grant motions for summary judgment on the various disclosures, which could end the case, or move the case to trial.