A South Dakota Democrat characterized abortion as an act of “killing” during a Thursday press briefing at the state Capitol in Pierre.
While speaking about exceptions for rape, state Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat from Minnehaha County, warned that a woman might face risk of prison time “for killing her… her fetus.”
She questioned whether an alleged rapist would have to be convicted in court in order for a woman not to face prosecution for her abortion.
When it comes to other exceptions, I’m assuming that we’re talking about rape and incest here, it opens up a great area for what does a rape mean? A woman should always be trusted when they say that they were raped. But how would they prove that? Does it have to be in the court of law? If that rape is found … if it had gone to trial and the person was not convicted, would that abortion now be something where we’re putting a woman at risk for being imprisoned, for jail time for killing her… her fetus.
Healy delivered remarks at a state Democratic leadership briefing alongside state Sen. Reynold F. Nesiba, who represents Minnehaha County, and state Rep. Oren L. Lesmeister, who represents Corson, Dewey, and Ziebach counties.
Ian Fury, chief of communications for the state’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, tweeted the footage of Healy’s remark. Her full remark leading up to the “killing” statement begins around 1:17:30 in the video below.
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling last June, South Dakota’s “trigger law” came into effect. The law, passed in 2005, made it a felony for a person to induce an abortion except in cases where the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother’s life.
“Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony,” the law states.
A Class 6 felony is punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment in the state penitentiary or a fine of $4,000, or both.
A person performing an abortion, not the woman herself, faces the felony charge under the law.
Neither Healy nor the South Dakota Democratic Party immediately responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment. This story will be updated with any response.
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