A federal court on Thursday blocked (PDF) a new South Dakota law mandating 72-hour waiting periods and counseling sessions at a faith-based crisis pregnancy
In May, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS), filed the lawsuit (PDF) against the South Dakota governor, attorney general, health department secretary and the executive director of the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners. PPMNS is represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and is joined in the suit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the law, which also requires a doctor to certify that the pregnant woman has not been coerced into having an abortion and to explain the physical and emotional risks of having an abortion.
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.
Reuters reports that South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), who signed House Bill 1217 into law in March, said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision but continues to encourage forced consideration of abortion alternatives as a way to reduce abortions.
Only one clinic offers abortion services in South Dakota, in Sioux Falls. Thus far, three pregnancy centers have registered to participate in the temporarily suspended counseling program: Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center in Rapid City, Bella Pregnancy Resource Center in Spearfish and Alpha Center in Sioux Falls.
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