South Dakota’s governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law on Tuesday a measure that will require women seeking an abortion to meet with their doctor, in person, and wait three days after that consultation before an abortion is performed.
Daugaard, as could be expected, did not give an interview after signing the law. Instead, a written statement by the governor said: “I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives. I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.” So much for yet another thinking politician infringing on privacy rights.
Main sponsor of House Bill 1217 (pdf), Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, said: “Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child,”Huffington Post reports. Hunt is obviously disconnected from the emotional, mental and physical aspects of pregnancy that all women are likely well aware of.
The law goes into effect July 1, and states that an abortion cannot be scheduled until after a doctor has personally met with a woman to determine she is voluntarily seeking the procedure. The abortion cannot be performed until at least 72 hours after that visit.
Additionally, before the woman has an abortion, she must first consult with a pregnancy help center to receive information on services available to help give birth and keep the child. A state-provided list of pregnancy help centers, all which will persuade women to give birth, will be made available.
Pro-lifers see coercion as the main issue at the heart of the new law. Chris Hupke, president of South Dakota’s Family Policy Council, believes the state’s primary abortion provider has not addressed the issue of coercion, stating that “the problem is, Planned Parenthood has not done anything ot police itself when a woman is being coerced into this action,” according to ABC’s KSFY.
South Dakota’s only abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood, is located in Sioux Falls and, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, plan to ask a judge to strike down the law as unconstitutional. Kathi Di Nicola, of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the new law is an intrusion on the rights of women for making personal choices on medical treatment and will require women seeking abortions to receive guidance from unlicensed and unaccredited pregnancy help centers often linked with religious motives, according to HuffPo.
“It's not going to do one thing to reduce unintended pregnancy or reduce abortion,” Di Nicola said. “We know women think carefully and consider all their options before making a decision like this.”
The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families opposes abortion restrictions. Its co-chair, Jan Nicolay, said the new law is an invasion of women rights to privacy in forcing them to visit pregnancy crisis centers operating as contrived clinics with the intent to prevent women from getting abortions.
“Now, despite the fact that South Dakotans have repeatedly spoken on issues of government interference in private decisions, we will once more be pulled into a protracted legal battle that will potentially cost the state millions in tax dollars,” Nicolay said in a written statement, Salon noted.
Hunt, the law’s main sponsor, said any legals costs associated with the measure would only be absorbed by the state should it lose a lawsuit, noting any money spent on preventing South Dakota’s 800 abortions per year would be well spent. “It’s hard to say what the price tag is on an unborn child,” said Hunt, HuffPo notes.
Equally difficult, apparently, is the price tag on an honest politician able to perform the job it has been elected to do.
South Dakota politicians have been busy in the last few years attempting to wrest control from the lives of women with repeated attempts at restricting abortions.
In 2006 and 2008, South Dakota voters rejected statewide ballot measures that, if approved, would have banned most abortions in the state. Those measures sought to generate a court challenge to the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion in the United States.
A 2005 law passed by the state’s Legislature already requires that women be told abortions end the lives of human beings. That law, as should be expected, is tied up in legal appeal.
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