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I Hate Linux

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Which would be worse... an abortion by a doctor... or a non-doctor?

I don't know about you, but I've been having a blast in reading the various different views on the South Dakota abortion ban on both sides.

As I may have said previously, I don't have a particularly strong view either way on the issue as I think there is another issue related to it that needs to be discussed and decided on first (more on that another time).

Aside from the senseless screams of victory on the anti-abortion side as if all of this is over and their victory certain, and the cries of murder, unfairness and boycott on the pro-abortion side, its also been interesting to see some of the misinformation being spread, and one of the keys being the lack of exception for cases stemming from rape or incest from people who seem to not be aware of the concept of the morning after pill (aka Plan B). Heck, even the South Dakota legislature discussed this very issue.

Aside from all of that, one recent and interesting post came from a person who is putting together information for South Dakota woman on how to perform an abortion on the theory that now that South Dakota has made it illegal, pregnant woman may have to have people, other than doctors (or even themselves) perform the abortion.

I could be wrong, but performing an abortion is likely a medial procedure, and in South Dakota it would fall under SL 1984, ch 255, § 4, (Statute 36-29-4):

Practice of medicine not authorized--Licensees exempt. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to authorize the practice of medicine by any person. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to any person licensed pursuant to chapters 36-4 to 36-10, inclusive, while practicing pursuant to that license.

And in doing so, one would be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor according to SL 1984, ch 255, § 28 (36-29-28) which says:

Violation as misdemeanor. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Given that the new abortion ban would punish a performing doctor with 5 years under lock and key... I'm forced to wonder (in large part because I have yet to find it), what the punishment would be for a non-doctor who performs an abortion and as a result is practicing medicine without a license and potentially able to be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor?

Edit: Thanks to Hot Carl for finding what I couldn’t, namely (Section 22-6-2), which tells us that a Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by:

(2) Class 2 misdemeanor: thirty days imprisonment in a county jail or five hundred dollars fine, or both.

In addition to the possibility of restitution.

So there we have it... it’s safer (legally at least (excluding any wrongful death suits)) for a non-doctor to perform an abortion in South Dakota. Of course, given the possibility of something going wrong... I think anyone, regardless of what side they are on in the abortion debate would prefer a real doctor doing it if it is going to be done.


  • Most abortions before legalization were done by doctors. Dr. Mary Calderone, when she was Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, estimated that 90% of pre-legalization abortions were done by doctors. Nancy Howell Lee, who used a different data collection method, estimated that doctors performed 89% of pre-legalization abortions.

    Calderone further estimated that 8% were self-induced and that 2% were induced by someone other than the woman or a doctor. Lee estimated that 5% by nurses or others with some medical training, and 6% were done by non-medical persons or the woman herself.

    My research into abortion deaths found far more lethal illegal abortions performed by doctors than by nurses, laymen, and the women herself, though my proportions are slanted more toward the amateur end. This makes sense, since those are the ones more likely to be fatal.

    What does this all mean? It means that what's most likely is that once again, if abortion is outlawed, most women who are determined to kill the fetus will find a doctor to do it, either by traveling out of state or by getting a doctor to do it off the books. As for the amateur and self-induced abortions, they persist even with abortion legal and readily available.

    By Blogger GrannyGrump, at 8:35 PM  

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