South Dakota women must now wait three days before abortion
Women must also undergo counseling under new law
Women in South Dakota must now wait three days before an abortion can be performed. Signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard, women will additionally have to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions.
Half of all states in the U.S. -- including South Dakota, have 24-hour waiting periods. South Dakota's new law is the first of its kind in having a three-day waiting period that requires women to seek counseling at pregnancy help centers,
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abortion rights groups in South Dakota say they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which they claim could create particular hardships for women who live in rural areas hundreds of miles from the state's only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls.
Daugaard said in a written statement that he had conferred with state attorneys who will defend the law in court and a sponsor, who has pledged to raise private money to finance the state's court fight.
"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," the Republican governor said in the statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
Half of all states in the U.S. -- including South Dakota, have 24-hour waiting periods. The state's new law is the first of its kind in having a three-day waiting period that requires women to seek counseling at pregnancy help centers, Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute says.
The law will certainly make it harder for some women to get abortions, said Kathi Di Nicola, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, which runs the clinic in Sioux Falls. Under the new law, women will have to drive there several times to schedule an abortion, visit a crisis pregnancy center and then get an abortion.
"It would most certainly be a barrier to women who have to travel. South Dakota is a rural state," Di Nicola said. "Many women who are seeking abortion care already have to take time off work and arrange for child care."
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said they will ask a judge to strike down the measure as unconstitutional.
Supporters of the measure say the Planned Parenthood clinic gives women little information or counseling before they have abortions done by doctors flown in from out of state and the bill will help make sure women are not being coerced into abortions by boyfriends or relatives.
"Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child," Rep. Roger Hunt, the main sponsor of the law says.
According to the new law, 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.
The law takes effect July 1.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Abortion, three-day waiting period, South Dakota
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