Earlier this month a mixed ruling from a federal judge declared that although South Dakota abortion providers do not have to tell their patients that abortion increases their risk of committing suicide, they do have to tell the women that having an abortion “terminates” a “relationship” with an “unborn human being.”
Both sides declared the ruling at least a partial victory.† But now, South Dakota is considering refiling to challenge the court’s decision to not force providers to tell women abortion will make them more likely to commit suicide, too.
Why? Because their biggest pregnancy center wants them to.
Much of the anti-choice legislation passed in the state in the last decade has been pursued or encouraged by Allen and Leslie Unruh, owners of Alpha Center, a group of pregnancy centers that provide ultrasounds, counseling and support for women with unexpected pregnancies.† The Unruhs have been actively involved in the state’s attempts to pass full abortion bans, and have become the leading push for the new 72 hour waiting period and mandatory counseling law that passed in the state (and is currently injuncted).† Alpha Center, a Christian-based pregnancy organization, would be a large provider of these counseling sessions, and has already provided training sessions for other groups that would provide the counseling, too.
The Unruhs have also actively fundraised on behalf of a legal defense fund so the state can continue to challenge these new laws in court, and have provided their own money in donations. And now, it appears, they are beginning to have actual say on whether or not the state will continue making challenges.
According to the Argus Leader:
The Alpha Center still is discussing whether it will petition for a rehearing on the court’s ruling of the suicide portion of the law.
Attorney General Marty Jackley said the state probably would follow the Alpha Center’s decision.
“I would anticipate that the state would be in support of the interveners,” he said.
Alpha Center co-founder Allen Unruh said he would have to talk to his lawyers, but they probably will file the petition.
“I’m pretty sure that’s the direction they are thinking in.”
So, now the center itself is making decisions on the legal fights the state will engage in, and the state will just go along with whatever they decide?† It appears that legal decisions are no longer made by elected officials, and are simply set in place by their biggest donors and supporters instead.
Photo credit: wikimedia commons