South Dakota legislature passes bill requiring 72-hour waiting period for abortions

[JURIST] The South Dakota State Senate on Wednesday passed a bill [roll call] that would require women to wait 72 hours after consulting with a doctor to have an abortion. In addition to the waiting period, HB 1217 [legislative materials] would require that pregnant women receive consultation at a "pregnancy help center" and that the women's doctors verify that this consultation occurred by asking the women for the name of the counselor and the name, address and phone number of the center. The bill also mandates that the content of the consultation be to, "inform her about what education, counseling, and other assistance is available to help the pregnant mother keep and care for her child, and have a private interview." The bill additionally allows for such centers to be listed on a South Dakota Department of Health [official website] registry, provided that one of the principal missions of the center be, "to educate, counsel, and otherwise assist women to help them maintain their relationship with their unborn children." The bill has drawn the ire of pro-choice groups [KDLT report] in the state and around the country, which have called the proposed law [ACLU press release] an "outragreous and extreme measure" and a "detriment to women's healthcare." South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard [official website] has indicated that he will review the bill, but is inclined to sign the measure [KSFY report].

South Dakota's proposed law is just one of many new laws regulating abortion that have appeared at both the state and federal levels in recent months. In late February, the Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would restrict abortions after the 20-week time point. Nebraska had passed a similar bill [JURIST report] in April 2010. Earlier last month, the US House of Representatives proposed a budget which would deny all funding to Planned Parenthood [Boston Globe report]. In May 2010, the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill [JURIST report] requiring women seeking an abortion to complete a questionnaire, including their reasons for seeking the abortion. Oklahoma's governor vetoed that bill, but both chambers of the state legislature voted to override the veto [JURIST report].

 

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