A South Dakota law that forces doctors to tell women that abortion causes suicide has been upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a 7-4 decision, the conservative dominated court ruled that it is perfectly legal to pass laws requiring doctors to lie to women who want an abortion.
With the ruling, every doctor in South Dakota must tell women who want an abortion that they are at risk of committing suicide, even though there is no scientific evidence that supporting any such link. A 2008 Johns Hopkins review of the studies on the link concluded that there was no real evidence to support a link between suicide and abortion. Even the American Psychological Association has debunked the statistics used by South Dakota to justify the law.
The Republican-led South Dakota legislature passed the law in March 2005. The las was quickly challenged a in June of that year by Planned Parenthood Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The law had been overturned by a three judge panel but the St. Louis based 8th Circuit reversed that ruling earlier this week. The seven judges who ruled in the majority are all George W. Bush appointees.
This decision clearly harms the doctor/patient relationship. The fact is, the state government of South Dakota is literally forcing doctors to lie to women. These doctors are being forced to give false information to patients. Health care is supposed to be based on science and fact, but doctors in South Dakota are being forced to mislead women all in the name of preventing abortion. That’s not only dangerous, it’s despicable. How can women possibly trust their doctors if anti-abortion fanatics are crating laws forcing doctors to ignore accepted medical science? This is a bad law passed by conservatives, and the ruling to uphold the law is also a bad one. And even the judges who made the decision admit it. In the majority decision, the court freely admitted that a link between suicide and abortion has no scientific or medical evidence to back it up, writing that “conclusive proof of causation is not required.”
So in their desperate bid to outlaw abortion and limit the reproductive rights of women, conservative judges have demonstrated that they are incapable of doing their jobs. Despite the complete lack of viable scientific and medical evidence proving that suicide is linked to abortion, the judges ruled that doctors can be forced to repeat false claims made by anti-abortion fanatics. That is clearly a major blow to the independent judiciary system America is supposed to have and proves once and for all that conservatives intend to turn America’s judicial branch into a system of kangaroo courts.