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Court to Hear Arguments on South Dakota Abortion Restrictions on Monday

Robin Marty

A judge will decide whether the nation's longest waiting period will be put on hold until its constitutionality is ruled on.

A judge will listen Monday to arguments for and against an injunction against the new 72-hour waiting period and mandatory counseling law in South Dakota until a ruling is given on the constitutionality of the law.  Without an injunction, the new rules will go into effect on July 1st, making South Dakota women seeking abortion subject to the longest waiting periods in the country.

Before getting an abortion, a woman will first need to visit the doctor who would be providing the service, then wait 72 hours after that first appointment before having the procedure.  In the meantime, she must visit one of three “pregnancy counseling centers” in the state that have registered to “counsel” women to decide if they are being coerced into an abortion, and ostensibly offer assistance if she will agree to give birth.

But what exactly will happen during those counseling sessions?  The law doesn’t provide any guidelines, and the centers themselves are being very closed-lipped.

Via Huffington Post:

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The new law provides little detailed guidance on how counseling sessions would be conducted. The Alpha Center declined a request by The Associated Press to interview counselors or see guidelines for counseling sessions, citing its intention to join the legal defense of the counseling law.

But during a facility tour, Unruh described staff procedures. In a room where ultrasounds are done, posters around the examination table show paintings of fetuses and describe what a fetus can do at various stages of development.

Unruh said a counseling session mostly deals with finding solutions to problems faced by pregnant women. A counselor can refer women to services that help them find or keep jobs, get back into school or get free medical care, she said. Women also can talk to others who’ve had abortions.

The legislature is adamantly against women being coerced into abortions, but have absolutely no concern about passing laws meant to coerce them into carrying a pregnancy to term or bearing a child they do not want or can not afford.

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