South Dakota Senate Passes 72-Hour “No Weekends or Holiday” Waiting Period

Proving once more that the South Dakota legislature is solidly in the pocket of anti-choice activists, the Senate has now voted 24 to 9 to pass a new waiting period that will force women seeking abortion to wait up to a week after her initial appointment before being able to terminate a pregnancy. The House already approved the bill 56 to 13.

The new extended waiting period was proposed to allow crisis pregnancy centers additional time to provide “coercion evaluation” to women seeking terminations without being forced to work on weekends. It passed despite the fact that a judge ruled in 2011 that the restriction is likely unconstitutional and blocked it from going into effect. As RH Reality Check reported in early February, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota expressed concern that if the new extended wait went into effect they would no longer have the resources to continue providing safe abortion care in the state. They currently operate the only clinic in South Dakota.

“It is insulting and demeaning that the legislature continues to imply that women don’t think carefully about their reproductive healthcare without governmental interference,” Alisha Sedor, executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota told RH Reality Check. “The women of our state deserve better than politicians who push their own selfish agendas without regard for what’s right for South Dakota.”

“Today’s vote is a huge disappointment and will no doubt have a negative impact on the women and families in South Dakota.  This bill has absolutely nothing to do with helping women,” said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Instead, this bill is about further delaying women from having an abortion and protecting the convenience and schedules of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) – a stunningly cynical use of the legislature and of tax-payer dollars.”

“Women in South Dakota who are grappling with the deeply personal and complex issue of abortion already endure a litany of medically unnecessary hurdles before they can get this safe and legal medical procedure. Now, they will be further delayed simply to cater to the weekend and holiday plans of CPC staff.”

The bill will now head for signature to Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is anti-choice. However, Daugaard has been leery in the past about signing legislation that he knows will likely see a court challenge. He balked at signing 2011’s HB 1217 into law until he was reassured that solicitations would be made to finance a legal fund to defend the bill and keep the state from absorbing the costs. With the original bill still in the courts, Daugaard may not be so anxious to sign a “revision” law, and one that directly applies to the part of HB 1217 that was blocked, into the books.

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  • Ella Warnock

    Well, South Dakota, be prepared to spend more for WIC and welfare for the children women have no choice but to birth. But I know you conservatives are totally up for that kind of thing, right? Oh, wait . . .

    • Tanya Nguyễn

      They cut wic funding from the state last year, saying in effect “if you had a child, it’s your job to raise it, not ours”.

  • Rachel

    This is so obnoxious. Women: You are required to think about this for 72 hours but your thinking doesn’t count if it’s on a Saturday, Sunday or Holiday. Seriously.

    • Tanya Nguyễn

      and by the way, there is no “thinking time” required if you want to buy a gun. By the state’s own statutes, “making a gun owner wait, could impact his plans to go hunting, or practice using his arm”.

      silly women, when will you learn that its the men folk who make better decisions for us, since they have the uterus, have to give birth, have to walk around 9 months in misery…oh. wait….

      • Ella Warnock

        The FIRST time I’m at the clinic is THE time for a termination. By the time I get there my mind is made up, and thinking time is over. Take an ultrasound to see what’s what, if you like, but don’t think I’m going to suddenly see what looks like a storm cell on Doppler radar and get all broody and frail. Please.

  • glorrierose

    To the state senator who wrote this legislation:

    So, let me get this straight. You firmly believe that women are incapable of thinking on weekends?

    So, how does that work? Does the brain go on holiday at 5 p.m. Friday, and come back to work at 8 a.m. Monday?

    If so, how is it that so many people actually work on weekends? Now, for instance, I have a freelance editing business. I am a woman. So, in your view apparently, since my female brain is incapable of functioning logically from 5 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday, I must tell my clients I can’t work weekends, even if it means that I miss their deadlines, which include not being able to graduate?

    Well, it is clear that there IS a brain that isn’t functioning here. And that brain is YOURS.

    • Tanya Nguyễn

      Waiting periods have ALWAYS offended me more than just about any other anti choice law.

      I know as a woman, and listening to my friends, family etc., virtually every woman thinks about “what if” from the time she is 13 or so forward. and her ideas change, all the time, as her circumstances in life change. the SECOND she is a minute late, she wonderes. “what will I do”, even if she starts an hour later. And if she does confirm she’s pregnant, she is on the phone with everyone and anyone she trusts, talkign it out.

      But see, men don’t do that. they only consider pregnancy when women tell them “it’s here, now”. so they don’t understand that virtually every adult woman (and many teens) know long before they are pregnant, what they will or won’t do. cause we live with our bodies 24/7. we watch tv shows about a miscarriage and we think about it. we watch movies where the woman had an abortion and we think about it. and we read idiots like this, adn we think about it.

      but we are women, and our thinking is somehow not good enough untill we are told to “start”. sighs.

  • Karen Wall

    Here’s the fundamental problem: Because men can only think with one head at a time, they cannot comprehend a woman’s ability to multitask. Raise your hands, ladies: How many of you EVER get a weekend off … from anything???

  • Tanya Nguyễn

    So, not only do we need to be told when to start thinking – cause every pregnant woman I know, hell every woman period has never thought about, discussed, or considered what she would do if she got pregnant, much less thought about it when she confirmed her pregnancy. I mean, gosh, why would you want to talk to your own pastor, parents, sibligns, adult children, friends, doctors – when you can wait and talk to the abortion people.

    No no, now we need to be reminded that as women, we are too simple to have a holiday or weekend AND THINK at the same time. Thinking is clearly Serious Business ™ and must be done only during work hours.