South Dakota Passes First-of-its-Kind Assault on Women's Privacy
South Dakota has opened a new front in the War on Women. Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed an unprecedented bill that expands the state's already considerable interference in the personal, private decisions of South Dakota women.
The legislation is HB 1217, which forces a woman to undergo an in-person lecture at a "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC), many of which are biased, anti-choice, anti-contraception facilities whose sole purpose is to talk women out of considering abortion. The woman must make this visit even if it is against her will.
CPCs are notorious for intentionally misleading women seeking information about reproductive-health care. In fact, some centers force women to watch anti‐abortion films, slide shows, photographs, or hear lectures. Others refuse to provide information about or referrals for birth control, or spread misinformation such as "condoms don't protect against HIV/AIDS."
NARAL Pro-Choice America has been at the forefront of documenting the growing CPC trend for more than a decade. For more information about CPCs, see NARAL's fact sheet
Isolating South Dakota Women
When facing the private decision of terminating a pregnancy, many women rely on trusted partners, friends, ministers, relatives, and loved ones for support. The new South Dakota law allows an anti-abortion organization to dictate who a woman could have with her at a "counseling session" - allowing the staff to separate a woman from the friend or relative who accompanies her.
The 72-Hour Waiting Period
In addition to forcing women to undergo an in-person lecture from an anti-choice organization, HB 1217 also requires her to delay abortion care for 72 hours, which could threaten her health. In a rural state like South Dakota, this requirement could mean a forced delay of days or even weeks, compelling women to undergo later abortion care that poses increased health risks. South Dakota's waiting period would be the longest in the country.
Statement from NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota
If you plan to write on this unprecedented bill, feel free to use the following quote for attribution from Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota:
"Gov. Daugaard is ignoring the citizens of South Dakota, who have twice expressed that they do not want the government to intrude on their private medical decisions. It is outrageous for politicians to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship in such an egregious way. Forcing women, against their will, to consult with an unlicensed, anti-choice, individual about their pregnancies flies in the face of patient privacy."