Will The Governor of South Dakota Sign The Country’s Longest Abortion Wait Period?

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.


Photo via wikimedia commons


Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Any more than 36 hours is way too long. How about this, women can wait 72 hours to think about the abortion, if upon hearing about whose the daddy, if the men have vasectomies within 72 hours. If my uterus is a political issue, then so are my guy's gonads. Fair is fair. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

April Thompson
April Thompson6 years ago

Women have the right to control their own bodies!

Alison W.
Alison W6 years ago

A woman who decides to get an abortion shouldn't be forced to watch a psychologically abusive counseling video filled with images of dead fetuses being torn apart limb from limb in an effort to guilt her into changing her mind. There's a difference between providing information and engaging in psychoemotional abuse toward these women.

Mike Loose
Mike Loose6 years ago

This is another case of people telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies. If I told my girlfriend what to do I would get a thick ear and rightly so. If she asked my opinion, however, then she would get my opinion. I think my first question would be "what do you want to do" The US is in the dark ages again. I guess the witch hunts will start soon.

Jane H.
Jane H6 years ago

These people are doing everything they can possibly get away with to stop a woman's right to choose. If they succeed they will find alot more dead women and girls who have tried to self-abort and die trying.

Sarah Zemke
Sarah Z6 years ago

My husband and I don't want kids (and I'm using birth control). If I got pregnant then I would more then likely abort. I've heard people say, "put it up for adoption!" Ummm, no. I'm not spending the next 9 months miserable for something that I'm not keeping, and I don't believe in bringing another unwanted child into this world when we have about 130 000 waiting to be adopted already. I've also heard people tell me that I will learn to love it. Now wait a minute... I've already said that I don't want kids but I also know that any child that is brought into this world should be wanted from day 1. I think it's an insult to the child to assume that just because a parent can see it and hold it that it will make them change their mind about wanting it. That's just what I think...

Noreen k-Potts
Noreen k-Potts6 years ago

I believe women's rights are being violated here. A woman should be able to do whatever she wants to with HER BODY. BUT OUT ANYONE who
tells a woman, she can't.....


IT WAS ACCIDENT!!!!! Don'r know how it happened,fell asleep while

Redgie H.
Redgie H6 years ago

Tom Y. sez "First, a fetus IS a living person, in the process of becoming."

Doublespeak at its finest. A little logic, Tom? Either a fetus is a living person, or its in the process of becoming a living person. Or were you trying to imply its in the process of becoming something else? And a complete genetic sequence is to a human being in exactly the same way a set of blueprints is to a 30 story skyscraper. Why should a woman have any say in whether or not she wants to spend the next 20 years of her life constructing your stupid blueprint?

I think its safe to say that only God knows for sure at what point life begins. It must give you a big hard-on, playing God in other people's lives. But be careful what you do with that hard-on. By your reasoning, when men ejaculate into the void, they are murdering millions of these all important genetic sequences for entirely new human beings. Men are predestined to become serial murderers, or to prevent that, serial rapists. Obviously a law must be passed requiring all male fetuses be aborted as punishment for their future crimes. As a bonus, within a few years of this law's passage, abortion rates will finally drop to zero. Problem solved. We can all go home.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik6 years ago

OK Tom, fighting the good fight.... The next time your wife becomes pregnant - you stay home with her...you puke when she does...you gain 45 pounds and you get to put your life on hold for 9 months too or wear one of those devices that show YOU what it is like to carry around another human being. You also get to not drink, not smoke & your every move gets to be suspect in case YOU are trying to rid yourself of the fetus.

If you are so keen on these precious, innocent babies being born, these women, whom you don't even know, get to drop their unwanted babies at your home for YOU to raise. It is only fair that those who clamor so much for these babies - born to women all over the USA that they don't know - get to take care of the resulting babies.

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

HEATHER G. sez "aborting a fetus is a sin but executing a living person is OK, right Amber?"

First, a fetus IS a living person, in the process of becoming. No bellicose denial of the humanity can counter the science: the genetic sequence for an entirely new human being is present at conception. This is human, and this is life.

An important qualifier is that it's INNOCENT life. A holistically Pro-Life view discards capital punishment, so there's no hypocrisy there. There's no hypocrisy in being Pro-Life and pro-death penalty, either. Remember, it's a PENALTY, the ultimate recourse a state or society has to protect itself from the worst human predators. Their successors are growing in the womb. The newborn are tomorrow's fresh start.

Don't let them get you down, Amber M. You are not alone in the good fight.