Republicans in South Dakota decided they hadn’t gone quite far enough in restricting women’s rights. So while their most recent abortion law is tied up in court the South Dakota House went ahead and made that law worse by changing some of the counseling requirements for women seeking abortions.
The revised bill leaves intact the current law’s primary requirement that a woman in need of an abortion wait 72 hours and undergo counseling at a crisis pregnancy center to discourage the abortion.
This new bill changes provisions in the old bill that deal with what happens during that first consultation with a doctor at an abortion clinic. The new law now specifies the factors an abortion doctor must consider when determining whether a woman is at risk of developing mental problems if she has an abortion. Those risk factors include coercion, conflicts with her religious views, her age and previous mental health problems.
A doctor at an abortion clinic would have to discuss those risk factors with a woman to make sure she is not being “coerced” into having an abortion, claims the bills sponsor Rep. Roger Hunt (R) of Brandon. “The bottom basic issue is we do not want to take the life of an unborn child,” Hunt said.
But Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, said the bill should be defeated because it will just add to the state’s legal costs in defending an unconstitutional law. “The counseling requirement assumes a woman has not thought carefully about her decision to get an abortion, she said. “South Dakota women are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves,” Gibson said.
It’s such a simple concept, the idea that women can think for themselves and don’t take a decision like terminating a pregnancy lightly, but one Republicans, and especially Republican men, really can’t seem to grasp.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.