March 22, 2011
S.D. Requires 3-Day Waiting Period, Pregnancy Center Visit Before Abortion
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a law today that makes the state the first to require women seeking abortions to first undergo counseling at pregnancy centers. The law also establishes that a woman must wait three days after an initial visit with an abortion provider before the procedure can be done, the longest waiting period in the nation.
The Associated Press reports that Planned Parenthood will challenge the law.
The law, which takes effect July 1, says an abortion can only be scheduled by a doctor who has personally met with a woman and determined she is voluntarily seeking an abortion. The procedure can't be done until at least 72 hours after that first consultation.
Before getting an abortion, a woman also will have to consult with a pregnancy help center to get information about services available to help her give birth and keep a child. The state will publish a list of pregnancy help centers, all of which seek to persuade women to give birth.
A Guttmacher Institute employee told the New York Times that more than half of the states have introduced legislation that restricts health insurance coverage for abortion, requires an ultrasound, or that bars abortion after 20 weeks.
Many states require counseling from doctors or other clinic staff members before an abortion to cover topics like health risks. What makes the new South Dakota law different is that the mandated counseling will come from people whose central qualification is that they are opposed to abortion.
Earlier this month, New York City passed a bill requiring centers to disclose whether they provide abortions or emergency contraception, make referrals to organizations that do, and if they have a licensed medical provider on site. The Alliance Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against the city.
CBS reports on how states are testing the limits of Roe v. Wade.
The anti-abortion rights movement last year found itself in a set of circumstances that have all worked to advance their agenda. Most importantly, states across the country elected new, emboldened conservative politicians. Hundreds of anti-abortion rights legislators and a net of 12 new anti-abortion rights governors were elected, according to Americans United for Life.
Meanwhile, a set of news-making events in the past year — such as the passage of health care reform and video of the conservative “sting” on Planned Parenthood — galvanized conservative activists. National leaders are more vocal than ever on the issue. And a possibly sympathetic swing vote now sits in the Supreme Court.
Americans United for Life has a map on its website showing legislation in other states.