Pre-Abortion Screening for Risk Factors Associated with Post-Abortion Mental Health Problems Now Required by Law in South Dakota

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, WECARE director has been serving as an expert to defend HB 1217 (now HB 1254)  in South Dakota for over a year. She completed an exhaustive review of the world literature pertaining to personal, relational, situational, and demographic factors that place women at significant risk for experiencing post-abortion psychological problems. The variables with the most empirical support have now been incorporated into law and effective July 1, 2012 abortion providers will have to screen individual women for the presence of coercion, pressure from others, conflict with personal values, ambivalence or a high degree of decisional distress, preference for carrying to term, pre-abortion mental health problems, and being 22 years-old or younger. Attorney Harold Cassidy is to be commended for his efforts to amend the statute to focus on the most well-established risk factors in the literature.