Judge Issues Injunction on South Dakota’s new 72 Hour Wait and Mandatory Counseling Law

South Dakota’s new draconian abortion law that would require all women seeking out the procedure to first visit a doctor to ensure she is not being coerced, then wait 72 hours as well visit a crisis pregnancy center to again ensure she is not being coerced, and only then finally go in to have an abortion will not be going into effect tomorrow, July 1st. A federal judge has blocked the law from being implemented while courts decide on the constitutionality of the legislation.

Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota is declaring the decision a “decisive victory for Planned Parenthood and the women and families of South Dakota,” which would have made South Dakota the most restrictive state in the country in which to obtain an abortion.  President  and CEO Sarah Stoesz states, “This law represents a blatant intrusion by politicians into difficult decisions women and families sometimes need to make.  We trust women and families in South Dakota to know and do what is best for them, without being coerced by the government. And we stand with them in our efforts to overturn this outrageous law.”

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Karen Schreier, who ruled on the injunction, said that she believed the reproductive health care group would eventually prevail in the final court challenge due to the unconstitutional nature of the law. ” Forcing a woman to divulge to a stranger at a pregnancy help center the fact that she has chosen to undergo an abortion humiliates and degrades her as a human being. The woman will feel degraded by the compulsive nature of the Pregnancy Help Center requirements, which suggest that she has made the ‘wrong’ decision, has not really ‘thought’ about her decision to undergo an abortion, or is ‘not intelligent enough’ to make the decision with the advice of a physician.  Furthermore, these women are forced into a hostile environment.”

The news will come as a relief to any woman in the state who may possibly need to access abortion services, as the 72 hour waiting period was likely to add not just a great increase in the time it would take to access the procedure and the cost of obtaining an abortion, but a great deal of mental anguish due to the “mandatory counseling” that would be provided by anti-abortion advocates.  As Alisha Sedor, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota explained in a recent breakdown of what it would really be like for a woman to obtain an abortion in the state if the law went into effect, the wait would actually turn into a week, due to the schedule of the provider at the only abortion clinic in the state, and could hypothetically could incur extra hundreds or even thousands of dollars in gas, hotels, child care and lost wages.

South Dakota has managed to dodge the implementation of their unconstitutional abortion bill, but they may be the lucky ones.  For Kansas, whose board of health has just announced that none of the three clinics in the state have met the new licensing laws required to perform abortions, tomorrow could be the first day the state is without any abortion providers whatsoever, unless another judge intervenes.

Photo credit: PeacoToons

9 comments

Valarie S.
Valarie Snell7 years ago

how upsetting

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Karen E.
Karen E.7 years ago

Michele, While I respect your right to dislike abortion I want to ask you a few questions. 1 - What do I do when my unborn child is diagnosed with a severe medical problem (might be some horrible deformity, might be spina bifida, might be profoundly retarded, etc.) and I know then that the baby, if born, will NOT be adoptable, may not even live very long, if it lives will have a very poor quality of life, possibly requiring massive medical attention which will accumulate massive medical bills ? Are YOU gonna take care of that baby for me? 2 - What if I am 16 yrs. old, ok, I made a mistake with my boyfriend. He and I both have scholarships to college. If I carry the baby to term I lose my scholarship (of course boyfriend gets to go on to school....) I lose my chance to go to school and get a better education than my parents have, to make a better life for myself and any FUTURE children I might have - yes, my unborn child deserves consideration and respect, but what about ME, I am a life, I am here and now, am I not worthy of some compassion and consideration for the fact that I am really still a child in many ways? Should I have to pay for my mistake for the rest of my life?(Don't think for a minute that a woman/girl who gives up her baby for adoption can do so without some emotional scarring) 3- You see an unborn child as a BABY. I see a first trimester fetus as a mass of cells in various stages of development. I do not see an 8 wk old fetus that is the size of a pea with onl

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Carla S.
Carla S7 years ago

How is that the party of 'no big govt.' and 'less regulation' has no problem layering regulation upon regulation on women's bodies? Might as well put a spy-cam in my vagina, if you're going to second guess every decision I make about my body.

Carol C - almost no women use abortion as 'birth control' - you are obviously ignorant about the difficulty of obtaining an abortion, the cost involved, and the discomfort and stress of the procedure. Abortion is simply one *legal* option women can use when confronted with a pregnancy. Next time you want to go to the doctor and get a prescription for, say, pain pills, I say you have to go to counseling and wait 72 hours, just in case you're a junkie who is only looking for a fix.

Educate yourself.

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Larry W.
Larry W7 years ago

"Too many MEN butt in, they can be told about the choice to keep or discard an unborn child, but they shouldn't have an opinion."

I suppose that is aimed at me, so I will just say that the state's ability to force such measures on a citizen does not bode well for the freedom of anyone, male or female; therefore, I intend to voice my displeasure with such actions.

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Carol C.
Carol Cox7 years ago

I agree with most of the commments above... Abortion is a very personal, private choice that every WOMAN should have the right to make and later live with the consecuenses of her actions... but it should be an INFORMED choice. there should be a 72 hour wait and counceling... too many women use abortion as birthcontrol. Too many MEN butt in, they can be told about the choice to keep or discard an unborn child, but they shouldn't have an opinion. they don't get pregnant, they impregnate...this Judge Schreier needs to reconsider.. as a female, this decision affects her and all women in her family as well. indormed choices are best.

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Larry W.
Larry W7 years ago

"i think if you want the abortion it wouldn't kill the person to have to go thru that."

It also won't kill you to undergo warrantless searches at 3 a.m., or strip searches when you want to fly on a plane, or ride a train; or to have to produce national registration documents to prove you are a citizen; or a state issued registration document to prove you have a 'right' to be in that state

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Michele H.
Michele H7 years ago

i think if you want the abortion it wouldn't kill the person to have to go thru that. i find it funny or sad in this case that a person can kill a human being and get away with it, but because this child is not born yet, they can kill it. I'm STRONGLY against abortions. if someone doesn't want the baby, then carry it to term, then have it and then give it up for adoption, if you didn't want to get pregnant, you should have took precautions to not get there in the first place. Rape and such, i feel the same way. and i can say w/o a doubt that in that case i would do the same thing. have the baby. back in the day they used to make you watch a film BEFOR you had the abortion called "silent scream" of the abortion, it showed exactly what was being done, and it showed the vaccum sucking the baby out. {you call it fetus i call it baby} part by part, and the hand would actually go out and try to get away from the "vaccum" i knew a lady who had to watch the film. and regretted that...{the decision she made that day}

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Michael Kirkby
.7 years ago

I never agreed with Pierre Trudeau on very many things but one thing I did agree with him on was that government had no business in the nation's bedrooms. Long as sex is consensual between two adults the government should butt out. Secondly, the same should apply to abortion. I think that abortion is a choice that is the responsibility of the individual. It is after all the individual's body. The person who makes the choice also bears the consequences if any.

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