Planned Parenthood stops abortion services in South Dakota ahead of Supreme Court action on Dobbs

A sign for Planned Parenthood is seen on Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Sioux Falls.

Abortion services have stopped, at least temporarily, at South Dakota's sole Planned Parenthood clinic while the organization waits for the Supreme Court of the United States to decide the fate of an abortion rights case out of Mississippi that has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Emily Bisek, vice president of strategic communications for the Planned Parenthood North Central States, said the clinic in Sioux Falls is still open to patients for the other forms of care it offers, like birth control, IUDs and family planning, but not abortion.

"We can't in good faith schedule patients for abortions when they would have to go out of state anyway," Bisek told the Argus Leader on Wednesday afternoon, noting that because of many laws already set in South Dakota, it takes multiple appointments to get an abortion.

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Patients seeking abortions at this time are notified that Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls is pausing that form of care because if Roe v. Wade is overturned by SCOTUS soon — Bisek noted the health care provider is expecting a decision between now and June 30 — South Dakota's trigger law would go into effect.

The trigger law will immediately outlaw abortion in South Dakota, but abortion is still safe and legal in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota, Bisek noted, among other states.

Bisek said Planned Parenthood can help patients in South Dakota get appointments at another health center as needed.

Minnesota could see up to a 25% increase in demand, short-term spike in Iowa

The unavailability of abortion services in South Dakota is expected to increase demand for those services in surrounding states. Based on the available data projections, Planned Parenthood North Central State's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarah Traxler, says they are expecting a 5-to-25% increase in demand for abortion services at Minnesota's abortion clinic locations alone.

"That's based on a [national] projection that only about 50% of those people who need an abortion would actually have the ability to travel," Traxler told the Argus Leader.

That means the other half doesn't have the means to travel, and are left with the option of continuing a pregnancy or finding a way to self-manage one.

In the short-term, Traxler says an uptick at the Sioux City clinic is also likely, with more than 70% of patients at the Iowa clinic already South Dakota residents.

But news out of Iowa is also putting that option in doubt, as the Iowa Supreme Court will issue its ruling Friday in a closely-watched decision that could govern the future of abortion access in the state, according to the Des Moines Register.

That court is considering the constitutionality of a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision that blocked a 72-hour waiting period. If both Roe and the Iowa 2018 precedent are overturned, legislators would be able to ban some or all abortions in the state.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Abortions stop in South Dakota as Planned Parenthood waits on Roe