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A new report from a South Dakota legislative taskforce may provide a roadmap for challenging and overturning Roe v. Wade.

The taskforce’s report enumerates 6 assumptions of fact made by the Supreme Court in their 1973 decision and concludes that “it is clear that the most essential assumptions made by the Roe Court are incorrect…”

The 71-page document was prepared at the request of the South Dakota Legislature which created the taskforce to study abortion.

The taskforce was asked to study a number of issues surrounding abortion including the practice of abortion since its legalization, what current science can tell us about the characteristics of the unborn child, the degree to which women who undergo abortions are truly informed about the procedure, and any adverse health affects on women having abortions.

The taskforce spent considerable time hearing testimony from embryologists and other scientists in order to answer whether “the human being, from the moment of conception, [is] a whole separate living member of the species Homo sapiens in the biological sense.”

In deciding Roe, the Supreme Court said that at this “point in the development of man’s knowledge” it was unclear whether or not a fetus was a human being.

One doctor, Dr. David Fu-Chi Mark, “explained that the new recombinant DNA technologies that have developed over the past twenty years provide scientific evidence about the unborn child’s existence and early development and her ability to react to the environment and feel pain prior to birth.”

Dr. Bruce Carlson testified that “The wholeness (or completeness) of the human being during the embryonic ages cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of how the genetic information is packaged, and how the information becomes unfolded and cascades into visible structures.”

Regarding whether or not the fetus is human life, the report took special note of the testimony of those who support legal abortion. “No credible evidence was presented that challenged these scientific facts. In fact, when witnesses supporting abortion were asked when life begins, not one would answer the question, stating that it would only be their personal opinion.”

The report also concluded that a South Dakota Planned Parenthood facility which provides a significant portion of that state’s abortions did not provide sufficient information to the mothers who received abortions there. “Based on their testimony, it is admitted that the Planned Parenthood facility in Sioux Falls does not disclose any information about the unborn child and that it does not disclose to the pregnant mother in any way that the child, the second patient, is already in existence.”

Of particular concern to the taskforce is “that the women who come to Planned Parenthood sign a ‘consent’ to have an abortion without first speaking to the doctor. These consent forms are filled out before the doctor sees the patient.”

In its final section the report states that the “state, the mother, and the child all have interests that justify changing the laws of the state of South Dakota to protect the child’s life, first and foremost, to protect the mother-child relationship, and to protect the mother’s health.”

This report was prepared by a taskforce of the South Dakota state legislature.

The taskforce investigated 6 assumptions of the Supreme Court in the Roe decision and found fault with each of them. They could be grounds for upending Roe at some future date.


[Culture & Cosmos Volume 3, Number 25 | January 25, 2006]
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