News Abortion

South Dakota Rep. Hunt Thinks All Women Are “Coerced” Into Abortions

Robin Marty

The sponsor of the three day waiting period and mandatory religious counseling bill says he doesn't "understand why" reproductive rights groups are suing.

South Dakota Rep. Roger Hunt, the primary sponsor of H.B. 1217, the new law that would force women to wait three days for an abortion and undergo mandatory religious counseling from anti-abortion activists, says he’s just not understanding why the law is being sued over.

Via Fox News:

State Rep. Roger Hunt, the chief sponsor of the bill in this year’s legislative session, said the lawsuit was expected.

“I don’t understand why, because it just seeks to give women more information and it seeks to remove coercion, seeks to deal with a number of coercion elements where you have possible rapes and problems within families and what not, and we’re trying to help those women deal with that coercion,” said Hunt, R-Brandon.

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“All of that seems to me to be in support of women, but for some reason Planned Parenthood sees their money supply and the abortions being dried, up so obviously they’re going to fight,” Hunt said.

Of course, it’s no surprise Hunt is confused over how his efforts to coerce women out of abortions is not being seen as helping women.  After all, he thinks every single woman who has gotten an abortion was probably coerced by someone.

News Abortion

South Dakota Governor Signs 72-Hour, No Weekends Waiting Period Into Law

Robin Marty

South Dakota now has the longest forced waiting period in the country for its one abortion clinic.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law a bill that forces women to wait three days before they can obtain an abortion in the state; under the law, weekends and holidays do not count toward that waiting period.

South Dakota now has the longest waiting period in the country. The state has one abortion clinic.

The bill was proposed as a companion to a piece of legislature that was passed in 2011 requiring women to both wait 72 hours and visit a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) for “coercion screening” before obtaining an abortion. The portion of the 2011 law that would have forced women to visit CPCs prior to obtaining an abortion was blocked by a judge who called it “humiliating and degrading.”

Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) introduced this new legislation to assist CPCs he worried would be inconvenienced by being open over weekends or otherwise might need to adjust their hours to offer counseling, despite that not being legally required at this point. “It’s wise for us doing the counseling to be fully staffed. The weekdays, we are. Weekends, it’s hard to get people away from the weekends with their families,” complained Alpha Center Medical Director Dr. Glenn Ridder, whose CPC is hoping to screen women under the law.

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“We are very disappointed that the state has chosen to further burden women with medically unnecessary waiting restrictions on abortion,” Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, told Reuters.

The local Planned Parenthood, which is the state’s sole abortion provider, announced prior to the bill’s passage that, if the bill passed, the group may no longer be able to perform abortions in the state. In December, the organization asked judges to drop its challenge to the original 72-hour waiting period, choosing to focus on the forced CPC-visit portion of the law. That request was neither granted nor denied, leaving the state’s original 24-hour waiting period in effect.

Utah is the only other state in the country to have a waiting period longer than 24 hours. However, Utah’s 72-hour waiting period does count weekends and holidays.

News Abortion

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

Robin Marty

It is now up to the governor to sign or veto the bill. Does he really want to pay for another court challenge?

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 Rewire 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 Rewire. “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.”

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“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.