PIERRE (AP) – The number of abortions performed in South Dakota declined 23% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to the state Department of Health's annual report on the procedure. It was the sharpest one-year decline in a decade.
The report shows 382 induced abortions were performed in the state in 2018, compared to 497 in 2017. Following the decrease, Gov. Kristi Noem signed a package of bills aimed at further reducing abortions in South Dakota. Noem said after signing the bills last March that they would "crack down on abortion providers in South Dakota" by requiring providers to use a state form women must sign before they can end a pregnancy.
Nearly 78% of the abortions performed last year involved South Dakota residents, the health department's report said.
It said 29%, or 112 abortions, involved women ages 20 to 24. Nearly 11%, or 41 procedures, were given to women 35 and older. Ten abortions involved girls 17 and younger.
The decline last year follows a downward trend for abortions in South Dakota in the last decade. The report said there's a 55% decrease in the number of procedures from 2008 to 2018.
South Dakota Right to Life Executive Director Dale Bartscher said the organization was "pleased" to see the reduction, calling it "significant but not unexpected due to the group diligently working statewide."
"Although this reduction of elective abortions is welcomed news, we will not rest until every human being is given the right to life in our great state of South Dakota," Bartscher said in a written statement.
Another new law signed by Noem this spring requires doctors to give a woman an opportunity to view a sonogram and hear the heartbeat of a fetus before an abortion. Another bill criminalizes causing an abortion against a woman's will.
Planned Parenthood North Central States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Updated 11:45 a.m. 07-10-19