Abortion-free South Dakota?: Abortion activists worry about impact of proposed waiting period

Temper tantrums.


Do you ever want to watch a pro-abortion fanatic have a temper tantrum? Just enact any law that puts the slightest restriction on abortion on demand.

It’s no surprise, then, that pro-choice forces are whining like a toddler whose parents have taken away his toys in response to HB 1237. This proposal in the South Dakota legislature (first read in the House on January 28) re-emphasizes the state’s current 72-hour waiting period on abortions:

No surgical or medical abortion may be scheduled except by a licensed physician and only after the physician physically and personally meets with the pregnant mother, consults with her, and performs an assessment of her medical and personal circumstances. Only after the physician completes the consultation and assessment complying with the provisions of §§ 34-23A-53 to 34-23A-62, inclusive, may the physician schedule a surgical or medical abortion, but in no instance may the physician schedule such surgical or medical abortion to take place in less than seventy-two hours from the completion of such consultation and assessment except in a medical emergency as set forth in § 34-23A-10.1 and subdivision 34-23A-1(5).

 If the 72-hour waiting period weren’t enough, the bill further specifies:

No Saturday, Sunday, federal holiday, or state holiday may be included or counted in the calculation of the seventy-two hour minimum time period between the initial physician consultation and assessment and the time of the scheduled abortion procedure.

In other words, the 72-hour waiting period doesn’t include weekends and holidays. That means that if a woman consults with her physician about an abortion on Friday, she won’t be able to go through with the procedure until at least Thursday. If the Friday precedes a holiday weekend (e.g., MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, etc.), she won’t be able to procure an abortion until at least the following Friday.

According to The Daily Beast, the only comprehensive women’s health clinic in the state is in Sioux Falls, which is inconveniently located for many residents. The extended waiting period combined with a long drive means that women in the state are less likely to actually go through with their intended terminations.

Robin Marty of RH Reality Check bloviates, “Removing weekends and holidays will in essence turn the waiting period into a week long minimum, since it would be nearly impossible to reschedule during weekdays.”

NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota executive director Alisha Sedor observes, “H.B. 1237, if passed, will severely limit access to abortion in South Dakota. … The measure could make it impossible for the state’s only comprehensive women’s health clinic to continue providing abortion services, effectively banning abortion in South Dakota.”

The original 72-hour waiting period was enacted in a 2011 bill, which was challenged by Planned Parenthood. However, Planned Parenthood ultimately dropped the appeal on the waiting period to focus on the bill’s other provision that women seeking an abortion must receive counseling from a crisis pregnancy center.

Contrary to Ms. Sedor’s assertion, the bill does not “make it impossible” for women to procure an abortion (would to God that it did). But it does provide reasonable obstacles to ensure that abortion-seekers have a considerable amount of time to think through a decision that will impact the rest of their lives.

Decisions made in the heat of the moment are often the ones that we regret the most. Abortion practitioners know that if women are given ample time to contemplate an abortion, they may very well back out of the procedure.

The abortion industry is no friend to women. The industry is looking out for only its own interests, even if it means that women hastily decide to abort their fetuses without carefully counting the cost of doing so. Therefore, don’t believe the lie that the pro-abortion opposition to this bill is simply an effort to protect women’s rights.

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