Under the guise of protecting and informing women, the South Dakota State Senate voted on Wednesday 21-to-13 to pass a bill (HB 1217) that triples the current 24-hour wait time for an abortion and mandates anti-abortion counseling. During the new 72-hour wait, women seeking abortions would have to go to a pregnancy health center for information about “what education, counseling, and other assistance is available to help the pregnant mother keep and care for her child” along with “a private interview to discuss the circumstances that may subject her decision to coercion.”
The bill, which the governor supports, defines a pregnancy help center in such a way that it is virtually impossible for a pro-choice organization to establish one. Such a center must not refer to or perform abortions, and must help women “keep their relationship with their unborn children.”
As Tiffany Campbell wrote when the bill was introduced, this means that “health center” is effectively code for crisis pregnancy centers, or CPCs, anti-abortion faux clinics that “are not regulated by a government agency and are routinely staffed by volunteers who lack any type of training.”
To obtain an abortion after the three day wait, patients must present their physician with a written statement detailing the place, time, and name of the counselor at the pregnancy health center they chose to go to.
Rather than protect women, this bill actually accomplishes three things:
- Inconveniences women seeking abortions by adding additional appointments and counseling sessions to an already arduous process. What about the working woman with no medical leave?
- Allows anti-abortion organizations the opportunity to create a running database of all women seeking abortions, potentially violating rights to privacy by forcing women to disclose personal information with “counselors.”
- Shames women who are seeking abortions.
One of the highlights of the bill is in the first clause stating:
ENTITLED, An Act to establish certain legislative findings pertaining to the decision of a pregnant mother considering termination of her relationship with her child by an abortion …
This relationship they mention is between a full-grown, adult woman and a group of cells that does not have feelings or a brain.
South Dakota is on a roll. First, they want to legalize the killing of abortion doctors, now they want to make it even harder for women to exercise their basic human rights.