Abortion in the Dakotas

Just looking for facts, an opinion or two will probably be warranted, however, I’m sure a debate is inevitable …

My question: Why is there only one abortion provider in each of the Dakotas (as well as one other state I believe)? Further, the doctors who perform them have to be flown in from neighboring states (at least in the case of SD).

If one, why not two or more in such big states?

Why can’t a local doctor be found willing to perform the procedure?


Looks like it’s largely social stigma.

They’re not that big. 777,000 people in South Dakota, more or less.


No, not big population-wise but alot of area.

The above article was very helpful … makes me wonder still:

Why exactly one rather than two? Perhaps Wyoming doctors cold be flown into Rapid City.

And why one rather than zero? Is it important for some reason to have at least one in every state?

I think that free choice organization (can’t think of their name offhand) actually runs the clinic, and they’re there just in principal for their cause. Obviously it gets some use if they have to fly a abortionist in once in a while, but it sounds like it’s so infrequent they can’t justify a full time abortionist.

800 women a year choose to have an abortion in S.Dakota, according to what I’ve read this past weekend.

Checking the CDC that gives South Dakota one of the lowest abortion rates in the country, tying with Utah and just a bit above Utah, amoung the states with proper data available.

Ah RandomLetters, if a South Dakota woman living near the state border chooses to go to another state for her abortion, is it added to the statistics as a South Dakota abortion or a Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Montana,Wyoming or Nebraska abortion?

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

Well, the number of people “on the border” are negligible – I see, you’re not from these parts! The west is big and very, very sparse. The people that live there are also typically less liberal and have differing views on the sanctimony of life versus, for example, Los Angeles. Their mores and their small population make these small figures no suprise.

Why? Who cares if it counts towards another state’s tally? Do you have some motivation to increase the numbers for some sick reason or another?

Well, from my cite above, the neighboring states all have fairly low abortion rates as well, with highest of those states being Minnesota @ 12 per 1,000 women (age 15-44), compared with the national average of 16 per 1,000 (and note that this figure is probably low, since California didn’t report data).

Balthisar I have no wish to increase the number of abortions, I was merely wondering if the statistics take into account women who travel to other states or not. For example if the premise of the new law was"South Dakota Women don’t want abortions and don’t have abortions" based on theses statistics, but it could be shown that a significant number of South Dakota women were travelling elsewhere and that their existence was being “hidden” by falsely attributing their state of origin to the state where they had the abortion, it might matter a lot.

Part of the problem with the abortion situation in Ireland (which has abortion only for life of the mother cases) is that there is no reliable statistic on how many Irish women actually travel to the UK to have legal abortions. Which means that no-one has any real idea of how big an issue it is.

A figure of 11 Irish women a day is often quoted, this is based on the number of women who give Irish addresses to UK abortion clinics.

Some people argue many more Irish women travel and give bogus UK addresses, or the address of British relatives or their hotel. Others (mostly pro-life, it has to be said) argue that the numbers are greatly over-estimated because British women are giving bogus Irish addresses in a gesture of pro-choice solidarity with their Irish Sisters, which strikes me as much less likely!

I was wondering if the statistics were higher for neighbouring states, out of proportion to the numbers of women that could be reasonably expected, and which could be accounted for by South Dakota women. It would appear not, but that was why I asked.

I get that we’re talking massive distances and poorly populated rural areas, but surely nowhere is more than 2 days drive or an hour or two’s flight from a state border, and a desperate woman might not let a long bus or car trip or a short flight stand in her way.

I worked in the base hospital Broken Hill is NSW, which is 500km from Adelaide and 1200km from Sydney. Although the OB/GYN service at Broken Hill would perform abortions, they rarely had to, as most local women preferred to travel the 14 hours to Sydney or the 7 hours to Adelaide, where the chance of gossip getting back to Broken Hill was much slimmer. If you’ve ever been to Broken Hill you’ll know that gossip is the local oxygen, so their concerns were not entirely without foundation.

I understand now, irsihgirl. I don’t think the premise of the law is cater to what’s popular or not popular; it’s a direct challenge at the constitutionality of abortion in the United States on the national level.

Toadspittle, the reason doctors fly in to do abortions and other doctors are reluctant to perform abortions is not social stigma. It is harrassment and very real physical danger. Most pro-life people are reasonable and civilized. There’s a fringe, though, that won’t stop at picketing clinics (screaming “babykillers” at everyone who goes in.) They also picket the homes of everyone who works at the clinic. They publish pictures of patients. They put hit lists of abortion doctors on websites, with checkmarks on the ones who have been killed.

There are even a few wackos who bomb clinics and assassinate doctors.

That’s why a doctor with a comfortable little practice won’t risk all that just to do a few abortions every year.

For what it’s worth, if we’re talking South Dakota, the two biggest population centers are “on the border”, really- Sioux Falls (pop 123975) is a hop skip and a jump to either Minnesota, Iowa, or Nebraska. It’s a four hour drive to Minneapolis, and a scant two hours to Omaha- both of which provide a selection of abortion services.

Rapid City (pop 59607) is on the western border, with a less attractive but still not impossible six hour drive to get to Denver.

We may be spread out around here, but we’re never that far from a big city, and I’d bet irishgirl is right on the money about many of South Dakota’s abortions being performed in neighbouring states, where it’s easier. SD’s got at least half the population of the neighbours it could be exporting to, so not seeing a big blip in their statistics doesn’t necessarily mean that SD’s “6 per 1000” statistic couldn’t be ‘articifically’ lowered by women who don’t stay in state to have an abortion.

No argument from me. Though I think that it doesn’t require fear of genuine physical harm to sway someone against wanting to perform abortions (or to get an abortion–the pro-lifers who picket clinics know that their presence, their shouting, etc., will scare off many women). Harassment takes many forms. For instance, while some union picketers have, at times, resorted to physical violence to drive away “scab” workers, it is not the norm. The mere fact that “scabs” are labeled as such and shouted at and called terrible names on their way into work each day is also a reason why some people won’t fill such positions. That’s “social stigma” at work.