Reviews Personal view

Why this abortion ban is a threat to women's health

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 26 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:925
  1. Marvin Buehner, obstetrician and gynaecologist (
  1. Rapid City, South Dakota, United States

    In the spring of this year the legislature of US state South Dakota passed, and the governor signed, House Bill 1215, which bans virtually all abortions in the state except for circumstances in which the procedure is necessary to “prevent the death of the mother.” South Dakota had already enacted some of the most restrictive abortion statutes in the nation, and has the second fewest abortions in the US. However, obstetricians in this rural state now face felony indictment for the termination of any pregnancy in which maternal death is not clearly averted by its performance.

    I am an obstetrician and gynaecologist who has practised in Rapid City in western South Dakota since 1993. Even then elective abortions were performed only in a single Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls on the far eastern end of this 400 mile long state. This is not only because of legislative restriction, but also the continuous …

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