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Correction: Abortion Measure Story

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — In a story Feb. 17 about an abortion bill, The Associated Press erroneously reported that a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, Jennifer Aulwes, said abortions using an approach known as dilation and evacuation aren’t performed in South Dakota. Aulwes said Planned Parenthood, which operates South Dakota’s only clinic that provides elective abortions, doesn’t use that approach in abortions it performs in the state. South Dakota hospitals sometimes use the approach during non-elective abortions performed because a mother’s life is in danger.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Panel approves potential prohibition of abortion procedure

South Dakota House committee approves potential prohibition of later-term abortion procedure


Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A measure that could ban a surgical abortion procedure that Planned Parenthood says it doesn’t perform in South Dakota passed through a House committee on Tuesday.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Isaac Latterell, told the House Health and Human Services Committee that a later-term abortion procedure could involve separating the skull from the spine. He said his legislation bans that practice, which he said may be part of a procedure called dilation and evacuation.

“I believe at a certain size child it’s necessary to sever the head from the spine, and if that is done during a (dilation and evacuation procedure) then I’m opposed to it,” Latterell said in an interview Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jennifer Aulwes said the language in the bill is medically inaccurate and inflammatory and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t perform the procedure in South Dakota.

A state Health Department report says the procedure was used in 0.2 percent of South Dakota abortions in 2013, but it doesn’t detail who performed the abortions.

The committee approved the measure 11-2, over the protests of Democrats.

Elizabeth Nash is a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, a national research organization that supports legal access to abortion. She said the bill appears to be an attempt to make abortion sound “horrible” and a step toward banning another type of procedure.

“What this bill is really about is the inflammatory language and riling up people to be opposed to abortion,” Nash said. “This language is pretty gruesome. It’s inflammatory. It’s designed to get the political juices flowing. It is not really about what medical practice is like.”

She said South Dakota’s only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, doesn’t perform abortions after a pregnancy reaches 14 weeks. Planned Parenthood’s website says dilation and evacuation typically occurs after 16 weeks.

South Dakota law limits abortions after 24 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute.