South Dakota legislature has passed a new and unusually restrictive abortion bill that will require women to visit and consult with mostly religious-based pregnancy centers before they can go through with having an abortion.
The fact that women are being asked to seek permission from anti-abortion counselors before they can have the actual abortion done is both ludicrous and likely unconstitutional. But more concerning is the fact that the mandatory waiting period for the state, which is set at 24 hours between first meeting with clinicians and having the procedure, will now be extended to 72 hours, and in many cases could take even longer. The woman must meet with the doctor before even scheduling the abortion, and the doctor is mandated not to schedule the actual procedure for at least 72 hours to allow time for the woman to visits the pregnancy centers. Only then can the doctor perform an abortion.
South Dakota has no resident doctors who perform abortions. Currently, providers are sent in from outside states in order to serve women seeking abortions, making the availability of the procedure already quite limited. Women who want abortions already incur traveling expenses, time off of work, and childcare expenses all so that they can come into town to visit the clinic, wait their 24 hours, and then come back for the abortion.
With the longer waiting period, women’s expenses will be even greater. Women will not be able to access an abortion in one long trip, having to schedule multiple, drawn out appointments. The availability of the doctors being brought into the state could turn that three day waiting period into a week, possibly even longer. Later abortions are more expensive, both the procedure itself and the expenses associated to jump through the hoops More expenses means more time needed to get the money for the procedure. All of these conditions lead to more women getting closer and closer to the cut off date in their pregnancies for a legal abortion.
Abortion is a legal health procedure. Women legally have a right to obtain one. Anti-choice legislators have attempted to legislate it out of existence by making it too difficult to get one, in the hopes of forcing women into giving birth. But at this point, courts do not agree that forcing women to give birth is acceptable.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota have already recognized the unconstitutionality of the proposed legislation, and have announced that they will be suing over it should Governor Dennis Daugaard, a pro-life Republican, signs the bill into law.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota announced Thursday that it plans to sue the state if Gov. Dennis Daugaard signs a controversial abortion bill passed last week by the Legislature.
House Bill 1217 would require women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours and consult with a counselor at a pregnancy help center before the procedure.
“Our legal team has determined that this bill is such an egregious violation of the Constitution that we will file suit if the governor signs it,” Planned Parenthood media relations director Kathi Di Nicola said.
Planned Parenthood has had an excellent track record in South Dakota, litigating and winning multiple cases of unconstitutional abortion restrictions in the case. Each case has cost the state to defend, and in many of the cases the state has had to reimburse Planned Parenthood for their legal costs as well.
South Dakota residents have made it clear in the past that although the majority of them are pro-life, they do not support overly restrictive abortion legislation that they see as overreaching government intrusion. Most recently they voted down a total abortion ban, unhappy that there were no exceptions for women who were raped or who’s health was in danger. How happy will they be about the state government spending up to $1 million in taxpayer dollars in a time of fiscal crisis budget cuts on defending yet another unconstitutional anti-abortion bill?
Legislators in the state only have to answer to their district, and only need a majority of those voters in order to get reelected. But Governor Daugaard will have to answer to all of the voters of South Dakota, and those voters don’t want to see their tax dollars wasted on defending doomed legislation.
Tell Governor Daugaard to veto H.B. 1217. In a time of budget cuts, why would you spend taxpayer dollars defending a bill that will never become law?
Make your voice heard — sign here to tell the Governor to veto H.B. 1217 and save the taxpayers’ money.
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