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A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a South Dakota law mandating that doctors must warn women seeking abortions that they’ll face a higher risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts if they go through with the procedure.
The St. Louis-based 8th Circuit upheld the 2005 law, 7-4. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota filed an appeal in September asking the court to toss the mandated warning, arguing that it infringes on both the abortion rights of the patient and on the free speech rights of the doctor.
The court's ruling, the Associated Press explains, ultimately came down to a "battle of medical studies." The AP:
Statistics show that women who have had abortions have higher rates of suicide compared with women who've given birth, but the sides don't agree that there's a causal link between abortion and suicide.
The defenders of the law cited research they said asserts a statistically significant correlation between abortion and suicide. The law's opponents, meanwhile, argued such findings overlook exterior factors such as domestic abuse or mental health, which other studies say may predispose women to both unwanted pregnancy and suicide.