News Abortion

Anti-Choice Activists Claim 72-Hour “No Weekends” Period Needed Because… God

Robin Marty

Why does South Dakota's new waiting period not include weekends? Because God.

The South Dakota legislature is preparing to start the debate over a new bill that will change the forced waiting period in the state to a 72-hour wait—no weekends or holidays allowed, a law clearly predicated on the assumption that women seek abortions without forethought, can not be trusted, and are unable to think as well on holidays or weekends as they are on weekdays. The bill has no logic behind it, but to  those who wrote and support the bill, it makes perfect sense.

God doesn’t work on Sundays.

That’s the argument provided by lawyer Harold Cassidy, who is representing crisis pregnancy centers which support the bill. According to Cassidy, this bill isn’t about making sure that women have enough time on their own to quietly contemplate what they really want. It’s making sure she has enough time to seek counseling from an “outside” source—especially CPCs. 

Via the Argus Leader:

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Harold Cassidy, a lawyer representing two crisis pregnancy centers who are defending the 2011 abortion law in court, said HB1237 is not about giving the woman time to reflect on her own — which she could do on a weekend or holiday — but to seek out counseling, which might be closed then.“One of the other purposes (of the bill) is to provide the woman with the opportunity to seek out counseling from other persons or individuals within the pregnant mother’s natural support system, such as the woman’s regular care physician, who’s never going to be open on a Saturday or a Sunday, or such as a clergy member,” Cassidy said.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Cassidy notes, aren’t open on Sundays because of their faith.

When you think about it, there are many reasons why this is an unbelievably brazen argument for a bill. First of all, they are writing a supplemental restriction to help them enforce another restriction: forced visits to crisis pregnancy centers that any women seeking safe abortion care must first endure. This has been enjoined by the courts as unconstitutional. Second, they are not only saying that they need to have a chance to coerce every woman seeking safe abortion care out of her decision, but that those women need to bend their own lives and schedules to the convenience of non-medical, ideologically-driven crisis pregnancy centers, which are not open on Sundays because of their “religious beliefs.”

The House will meet to consider the legislation Friday.

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