By Brigitte Amiri, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, & Robert Doody, Executive Director, ACLU of South Dakota
Today, South Dakota’s governor, Dennis Daugaard, signed a bill that creates unprecedented restrictions on access to abortion care. As we’ve blogged before, this law requires women to wait 72 hours between the first counseling session with the doctor and the abortion; it also requires women to first visit “crisis pregnancy centers,” entities that are notorious for providing false and misleading information; and requires doctors to tell the woman of any possible risk factor published in medical and psychological journals since 1972. These new restrictions are on top of the long list of abortion restrictions in South Dakota, and come from a state that has one abortion provider.
If the law were to take effect, the consequences for women in South Dakota would be devastating. Given that Planned Parenthood is the only abortion provider in South Dakota, and they are in Sioux Falls, some women already must travel great distances to see a physician. But under the law, they would have to make to make two trips: one to visit with the doctor in person, and then another 72 hours later for the abortion. In the meantime, they must visit a crisis pregnancy center, which, under the law’s requirements, must be anti-choice.
At the crisis pregnancy center, the woman must tell the staff her private reasons for having the abortion and give the name of her doctor. These intrusions into women’s private lives are outrageous, and they also put physicians at risk for violence and harassment.
And just in case the law was not cruel enough, there is no exception for women who have been raped, who are survivors of incest, or have a wanted pregnancy that is doomed.
So we’re headed to court. We won’t stand for this blatant mistreatment of women and blatantly unconstitutional law. We’ll join Planned Parenthood in court to stop the law in its tracks so no woman is faced with these burdensome, humiliating requirements.