South Dakota anti-abortion law breaks new ground
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signs a law that requires a woman seeking an abortion to wait three days and to visit an anti-abortion counseling center. Critics say it is unconstitutional, proponens say it is common sense.
South Dakota today became the first state in the country to require women seeking an abortion to visit anti-abortion counseling centers.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed legislation that is precedent-setting in several ways. It also mandates a 72-hour waiting period – the longest in the country – and requires two visits to a physician and a screening for risk factors, in addition to the visit to a pregnancy crisis center.
“I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,” Governor Daugaard said in a written statement. “I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.”
Planned Parenthood announced before the bill was signed that it would file a lawsuit.
“The 72-hour waiting period coupled with having to go to a crisis pregnancy center whose very mission is to dissuade women from going through with an abortion has grave constitutional concerns for us,” says Kathi Di Nicola, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota.
The measure is among the most restrictive abortion-related bills to come before today's state legislatures. While state-level curbs on abortions have been growing steadily since 1995, the more-Republican makeup of many legislatures voted into office in November has increased the likelihood that many such measures will become law, says Donna Crane, policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America.