South Dakota To Reevaluate Mandatory Crisis Pregnancy Counseling Abortion Rule

South Dakota’s onerous new abortion hurdle that requires any woman seeking to terminate her pregnancy to wait at least 72 hours as well as undergo an evaluation at a religious-based crisis pregnancy center has yet to go into effect, blocked by courts as judges decide whether or not the rule is constitutional.  But now the South Dakota legislature is trying to move it more rapidly through the system by adjusting some of the rules for the mandatory counseling session.

The centers that originally would be involved with “counseling” women prior to abortion, as well as seek to determine if the women are being “coerced” into termination, are mostly volunteer-staffed entities with no medical licenses or credentials, allowing them to offer misleading and outright fictitious statements about abortion, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases.  Formed by anti-choice advocates, some of whom have been active in the drafting of the new rule as well as fundraising to defend it in legal challenges, the pregnancy centers have a vested interest not just in talking women out of abortions, but in eventually receiving additional funding that would likely be necessary for them to act as counselors should the law ever go into effect.

But a state House committee is considering rewriting the law to mandate that the centers “have licensed doctors, nurses or counselors.”  Although the change isn’t likely to effect the intent and ideology of those who will be in place to act as gatekeepers for women who want to terminate a pregnancy, at the very least it could give women recourse to complain about them professionally should the pregnancy centers misuse their power.

One thing that is apparently not up for review?  The 72 hour waiting period, the longest in the country.  For women who have great distance to travel in order to get to the state’s only abortion clinic, the waiting period will cost them additional hundreds of dollars in expenses, lost wages and child care.  And sadly, it seems to be the start of a trend.  Utah is now considering legislation to lengthen their waiting period to 72 hours as well.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Jane Barton
Jane Barton4 years ago

Another Republican troll liar on here who couldn't find the UK on a map? This is so unconstitutional it's laughable. Why are the people of South Dakota allowing their lawmakers
to diddle on the taxpayer's dime? This is beyond ridiculous.

brenda s.
brenda stone4 years ago

@iona s. The most recent data is for 2009. An article published in The Guardian in February 2011 shows that teenage pregnancy rates in the UK were at their lowest since the 1980s. An article in the Daily Mail from June 2011 states that, according to the Health Protection Agency, the rate of STIs has declined slightly.

Iona S.
Iona S.4 years ago

As well as the "free contraception, free abortions" and morning-after pill free at walk-in clinics which Sandra K mentions, here in the UK we also have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe, and soaring rates of STIs.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton4 years ago

South Dakota sucks. They should join the redneck south and form a new country of Republican hicks. None of these people have any respect for the law of the land and they have Taliban leanings. These people are UNAMERICAN!

Jeffry W.
Jeffry W.4 years ago

Many existing laws and regulations apply specifically to pregnant women. Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act offer new benefits for expecting mothers. Search online for "Penny Medical" if you need affordable insurance for yourself or your wife.

Gini D.
Gini D.4 years ago

Pay attention to what Sandra K said. She is right, how it is in England should be so here too. I thought we were so enlightened here in the USA with separation of church and state, yet the battle continues.

Marie W.
Marie W.4 years ago


Inga Sherrill
Inga S.4 years ago

Sandy E. , You saying you will adopt the children who come from unwanted pregnancy? All of them? No one is "killing your children" so cut the Drama!

Jane Barton
Jane Barton4 years ago

South Dakota's gonna lose their tax base. What kind of people would want to live there?

Pamela H.
Pamela H.4 years ago

I doubt that commenting here will make any difference at all, since the fundamentalists who call for these laws don't read anything outside of their tiny, insulated bubble of superstition.