South Dakota

March 2023 Update

A ban has been enacted on in-state abortion care. The import of these bans for the practice of reproductive medicine and, specifically, the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to build families, varies on a state-by-state level. While the majority of states’ abortion ban statutes are applicable in the context of a pregnancy, many state laws also include definitions stating that “personhood” begins at fertilization or even conception. Such definitions -- whether intentionally or not -- have the potential to implicate and even ban the use of ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), though some states have taken steps to carve this out as allowable. In a growing number of states, statutory restrictions severely limit access to abortion care and implicitly threaten the unhindered practice of reproductive medicine.

as of July 2022

Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)

Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?

Why or why not?

Seemingly no impact on IVF or other ART procedures because the law only prohibits abortion in situations involving a pregnant female. 

Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?

There are no explicit references to IVF or reproductive medicine services. 

Are there any penalties in this law that could apply to ART procedures?

The law does not appear to be applicable to ART procedures. 

Relevant definitions

  • The trigger law does not have a definitions section.
  • The definitions section for the title defines “[u]nborn child” as “an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.”

Do the definitions/terms of the trigger law apply to other areas of state code?

The trigger law is part of the criminal code, and the definitions from the title’s definitions section apply throughout the title.

What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?

The trigger law is effective when the date states are recognized by the United States Supreme Court to have the authority to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy. 

Key provisions: What does the law prohibit and when does it apply?

  • The law provides that “[a]ny person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion” is guilty of a felony
  • There is an exception for a medical emergency endangering the life of the pregnant female. 

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