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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

What are TRAP laws, and how do they impede women's access to health-care services?


The anti-choice movement has undertaken a campaign to impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers—but not other medical professionals—in an obvious attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain. Such proposals are known as TRAP laws: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Common TRAP regulations include those that restrict where abortion care may be provided. Regulations limiting abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, rather than physicians' offices, require doctors to obtain medically unnecessary additional licenses, needlessly convert their practices into mini-hospitals at a great expense, or provide abortion services only at hospitals, an impossibility in many parts of the country.

Current State Laws

44 states and the District of Columbia have laws subjecting abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY.

  • All of these states prohibit certain qualified health care professionals from performing abortions.
  • 25 of these states restrict the provision of abortion care — often even in the early stages of pregnancy — to hospitals or other specialized facilities: AK, AR, CT, GA, ID, IN, MA, MN, MS, MO, NV, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WI.
  • 15of these laws are at least partially unenforceable: AK, AZ, ID, IL, MA, MS, MO, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, UT, WI.

TRAP Laws in South Dakota

South Dakota imposes a variety of requirements on abortion providers that are not imposed on other health-care providers, including:

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

South Dakota places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Facilities that provide abortion care must obtain a license that cannot exceed $2,000 and must have at least one licensed physician on staff.S.D. Codified Laws § 34-23A-48 (Enacted 2006). The South Dakota Department of Health has extensive access to providers' facilities:"The [South Dakota Department of Health] may inspect an abortion facility at reasonable times as necessary to ensure compliance." S.D. Codified Laws § 34-23A-49 (Enacted 2006).

South Dakota facilities that provide abortion services are also subject to various personnel, sanitation, safety, and "quality assurance" requirements that other medical facilities are not.S.D. Codified Laws § 34-23A-51.

South Dakota has a law that requires abortion services between 12 and 24 weeks to "be performed in a hospital, or if one is not available, in a licensed physician's medical clinic or office of practice subject to the requirements of § 34-23A-6 [blood supply requirements]."S.D. Codified Laws § 34-23A-4 (Enacted 1973). A consent decree settled a lawsuit brought by reproductive-health-care providers that challenged the constitutionality of this law.See Planned Parenthood of Minn., N.D., S.D. v. Janklow, 216 F.Supp. 2d 983, 993 (D.S.D. 2002), rev'd by Planned Parenthood of Minn., N.D., S.D., v. Rounds, 372 F.3d 969 (8th Cir. 2004), Planned Parenthood of Minn., N.D., S.D.v. Rounds, No. Civ. 02-4009 (D.S.D. Aug. 11, 2005) (consent decree). The consent decree interpreted the law to mean that a "sufficient supply of blood immediately available" includes all abortion procedures provided up to and including 14 weeks and 6 days gestation rather than the 12-week limit.Planned Parenthood of Minn., N.D., S.D.v. Rounds, No. Civ. 02-4009 (D.S.D. Aug. 11, 2005) (consent decree).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

South Dakota prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed by the state or a physician practicing medicine or osteopathy and employed by the state or the United States may provide abortion care. S.D. Codified Laws §§ 34-23A-1(7), -3, -4, -5 (Enacted 1973).

The State Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners may not approve a physician assistant practice agreement that includes abortion as a permitted procedure. S.D. Codified Laws §§ 36-4A-20.1 (Enacted 2000), S.D. Codified Laws §§36-4A-1, -20 (Enacted 1973).

In addition, the South Dakota Board of Nursing and the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners may not approve a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife collaborative agreement that includes abortion as a permitted procedure. S.D. Codified Laws §§ 36-9A-1, -15 (Enacted 1979), S.D. Codified Laws § 36-9A-17.2 (Enacted 2000).

 
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