New ‘no abortions’ law gets mixed reactions in Brookings


Many Brookings residents say they do not feel affected by House Bill 1215. The bill prohibiting most abortions was signed into law by Gov. Mike Rounds on Monday.
Kevin Suiter, associate pastor with Holy Life Tabernacle and director of church counseling, said that though he was for House Bill 1215 being signed, it would not change his job as a counselor. He said the church's main message stays the same – that life is valuable.
“Our counseling was always based on a higher law, which was the Bible versus a law that was out there anyway,” Suiter said.
Sheanna Siegel, a Brookings County resident, when asked by the Register if her life would change with this new law, she said, “I don't think it will, because I have my medical condition.”
House Bill 1215, prohibiting most abortions, does allow a doctor to perform an abortion to save the mother's life.
Siegel says she has a blood disorder that causes blood clots whenever she is pregnant. These clots pose a danger to her and to the fetus. At 10 weeks gestation she starts taking blood thinners to prevent the clots. Before that time she is in danger of strokes and her fetus could also die if a clot blocks the transmission of nutrients from Siegel via her blood.
During her last delivery a few months ago, Siegel said she lost a third of her blood because of the blood thinners. Siegel, who opposes the bill because it does not provide for cases of rape, is currently expecting her third child.
Nicole Czeck, an SDSU student and resident of Brookings County, said that she opposes the bill because it does not provide for cases of rape.
“I feel it shouldn't be used as a form of birth control,” Czeck said. However, she added that if she were raped, she would want the choice to have an abortion.
SDSU graduate Bobbi Jo Knight said that she believes there should be exceptions for rape and incest.
“I personally couldn’t have an abortion, unless I was raped or incested,” Knight said.
Some Brookings residents said that the bill would affect them indirectly.
Dr. Ingrid Chamales, an OBGYN with Avera Brookings Medical Clinic, said that though her regular practice would not change, the “women coming off the interstate who have been traveling back from an out of state abortion” would increase.
“The possibility for seeing patients who have gone to other states or have tried to induce their abortions is there,” said Chamales, who would not comment on her personal opinion of the bill.
Lack of medical records and the patients’ reluctance to talk to medical staff make treating these patients difficult, she said.
Dr. Richard Gudvangen, an Avera Brookings Medical Clinic OBGYN, has also treated women who have been traveling the interstate and have come to the clinic or showed up in the Brookings Hospital emergency room.
“We probably see more of that than people realize,” he said. Gudvangen cut short his interview with the Register to attend a birth at Brookings Hospital and was not available to comment on his personal opinion.
Chamales said she has also treated SDSU students who have had abortions in their home areas and then return to Brookings for school. This number could also increase. She said that incomplete medical records for these women also makes treatment difficult.
Julie Cameron with the Brooking’s Family Planning Clinic declined to comment to The Brookings Register. A Family Planning employee did comment that the clinic is funded by a state program and is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood runs the only abortion clinic in South Dakota.
Theresa Goon, a Brookings resident and stay-at-home mother, said that the only change she would experience would be emotionally.
“I would be happy; my heart would be glad for all those babies,” Goon said.
Goon said she supports the bill, but does not believe in the exception for a mother’s health.
“I would gladly give up my life for a child, whether mine or someone else’s,” Goon said. “I can’t imagine killing my baby so I can live.”

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