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Results tagged “South Dakota” from Blog for Choice

The Dakotas Join the Anti-Choice Legislation Race

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womenpatient.jpgDespite the fact that seven in 10 Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, politicians across the country continue to propose anti-choice legislation that chips away at women's reproductive rights.

In North and South Dakota, anti-choice politicians are mounting these attacks at an alarming rate.

From so-called "personhood" measures, to bills that ban abortion before most women even know they are pregnant, to unnecessary waiting periods for women who seek abortion care, women's access to reproductive-health care is becoming more and more restricted.

Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, commented on anti-choice lawmakers' recent attempts to extend the forced-waiting period for women seeking abortion care in the state:

"H.B.1237, if passed, will severely limit access to abortion in South Dakota, making it virtually impossible for women to access needed reproductive health-care. 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."

And just like South Dakota, many of these anti-choice initiatives are being pushed forward in states which may only have one abortion clinic in the entire state. An upcoming film, "The Last Clinic", highlights the attacks on choice and the unknown fate of Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic.

Nick Wunder, a member of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department and a South Dakota native, worked on the ground with our affiliate in that state to stop these extreme anti-choice attacks to women's freedom and privacy.

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Nick is a member of NARAL Pro-Choice America's policy department and a South Dakota native.

SD flag.jpgAnti-choice politicians in South Dakota gained notoriety in 2011 by passing an extreme measure that forces a woman to submit to a state-mandated in-person lecture at an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center (CPC), wait 72 hours, and make three trips before getting abortion care. Thankfully, a federal judge blocked the 2011 law from going into effect, but anti-choice state legislators keep trying to up the ante. In 2012, they amended the law to make it even worse: now the law forces doctors to probe women about deeply personal topics, including her religious beliefs--even if against her will. Fortunately, again the courts enjoined it.

I didn't think these anti-choice politicians could take it any further, but they proved me wrong. Last week, South Dakota state Rep. Jon Hansen introduced HB 1237, a bill that would redefine the 72-hour forced delay to apply only to business days, so that weekends and holidays wouldn't count toward the three-day waiting period. This demeaning bill assumes that women can make medical decisions that impact their lives only during business hours. Apparently, on weekends and holidays women just can't think for themselves. It's insulting.

This bill would put abortion care even further out of reach for women who already live in one of the most difficult states for reproductive-health services. South Dakota has only one abortion provider, and in many cases, women must travel long distances for care. It would have the worst effect on low-income women, rural women, and Native-American women, all of whom have the hardest time getting health-care services. Facing a mandatory delay and a two-trip requirement, women also may need to take time off from work or school, and arrange for child care, transportation, and overnight stays.

I did the math: in practice, this bill could mean delays of weeks. Such a long waiting period could have serious consequences for women's health. Apparently Rep. Hansen and his anti-choice allies don't feel that protecting the health of women in South Dakota is a priority.

As NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota executive director Alisha Sedor points out, HB 1237 perpetuates "antiquated and sexist views of women...by implying that they are unable to make decisions about their reproductive health-care if it isn't a business day."

This tone-deaf measure fundamentally misreads where South Dakotans stand on government interference in citizens' private lives. And I should know--I grew up on a third-generation family farm in the northwestern corner of the state. South Dakotans understand that politicians have no business interfering with a woman's private health-care decisions. But you don't have to take my word for it: South Dakota voters have twice rejected abortion bans at the ballot box. Anti-choice politicians just don't get it.

Maybe that's why the Rapid City Journal selected HB1237 as the "Odd Bill of the Week."

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June 5: Vote Pro-Choice on a Big Primary Day

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On Tuesday, June 5 voters in six states will head to the polls for congressional primaries.

If you live in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, or South Dakota, check out the NARAL Pro-Choice America primary voter guide for your state!

California

The Golden State is home to some of our greatest champions of choice in Congress. Let's send them back to Washington, and score some pro-choice pickups, too!

Californians are lucky to have many strong pro-choice candidates running.

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein for re-election. She's been a consistent champion of choice, and we need her in the U.S. Senate!

NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC also endorsed a number of candidates for U.S. House of Representatives:

Pete Aguilar in District 31
Ami Bera in District 7
State Rep. Julia Brownley in District 26
Rep. Lois Capps in District 24
Rep. Judy Chu in District 27
Jose Hernandez in District 10
Rep. Barbara Lee in District 13
Leader Nancy Pelosi in District 12
Rep. Jackie Speier in District 14
Rep. Henry Waxman in District 33

If you live in California, check out our voter guide so you can vote pro-choice down this line.

New Jersey

In the Garden State, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Rep. Steve Rothman in the Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District.

Rep. Rothman is a consistent champion of a woman's right to choose. Right now, he's locked in a primary battle with Rep. Bill Pascrell, who has cast 21 anti-choice votes during his time in Congress.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorsed Rep. Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate. He's been fighting to stop the War on Women in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, we need him to bring his pro-choice values to the U.S. Senate!

Check out voter guide for your state, and if you live in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, or South Dakota, be sure to vote pro-choice on Tuesday, June 5!

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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Taking on Politicians Who Think They're Doctors

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In case you didn't see our Facebook graphic last week, we've had a serious nationwide outbreak of politicians who are practicing medicine without a license.

The inimitable Gail Collins of The New York Times takes on these politicians who think they know what's best for women's health. In particular, she highlights an outrageous new law in South Dakota:

Last year, South Dakota -- which has a grand total of one abortion provider -- instituted a 72-hour waiting period, plus a requirement that the woman undergo a lecture at one of the state's anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers.

This law is tied up by litigation. While they're waiting, the legislators have improved upon their work, requiring the doctor to ask his patient -- who may have already traveled for hours, waited for three days and gone through the counseling center harangue -- questions including what her religious background is and how she thinks her family might react to the decision to end the pregnancy.

"South Dakota has taken the I.R.S. audit model and applied it to women's reproduction," said Ted Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Read the whole column here.

And it's not just South Dakota.

Last week, Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" used humor and satire to bring attention to Texas' forced-ultrasound law. But for women subjected to this invasive law, it's anything but funny.

The Texas Observer reports on one woman whose wanted pregnancy experienced terrible complications. This family's personal tragedy was made all the more hellish by a state-mandated attack on their privacy:

The doctor and nurse were professional and kind, and it was clear that they understood our sorrow. They too apologized for what they had to do next. For the third time that day, I exposed my stomach to an ultrasound machine, and we saw images of our sick child forming in blurred outlines on the screen.

"I'm so sorry that I have to do this," the doctor told us, "but if I don't, I can lose my license." Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor's voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.

Read the rest of the story here.

Personal, private medical decisions need to be left up to a woman and her doctor--not politicians who have never met them.

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South Dakota Discovers Anti-Choice Laws Don't Come Free

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South Dakota's anti-choice governor, Dennis Daugaard, just released his 2012 budget proposal. It shows he's willing to use taxpayers' dollars to advance his anti-choice agenda.

In particular, Gov. Daugaard has budgeted $750,000 in legal fees to defend in court an outrageous, anti-choice measure that he signed into law earlier this year.

This is the law that forces a woman to wait 72 hours before receiving abortion care, and mandates that she receive an in-person lecture from an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC). CPCs are notorious for intentionally misleading women seeking information about reproductive-health care.

A federal court blocked the law from going into effect this summer, but Gov. Daugaard and his anti-choice buddies are appealing the ruling--at an estimated cost of $750,000 in taxpayer money.

Here's an idea: maybe, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending a law that forces women to hear misinformation from a CPC, they could, um, not do that.

Maybe they could spend that money on education, or roads, or job training, or health care, or better school lunches.

Do you have an idea for how better to spend $750,000 than on attacking women's health? Share it here in the comments section.

Gov. Daugaard's budget proposal makes one thing clear: as much as these politicians may hate government spending, they hate women's freedom and privacy more.

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What Could Happen in South Dakota

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Vanessa Wellbery is policy representative at NARAL Pro-Choice America. Alisha Sedor is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota.

If a judge doesn't intervene, on July 1, women in South Dakota could face an extreme attack on their right to choose legal, safe abortion. As we wait for the court's decision, we wanted to give readers an idea of what will be at stake for women in the state. The following story illustrates what could happen if this first-of-its-kind law goes into effect in a state where women already face significant barriers to abortion access. 

Let's start from the beginning with a woman who lives in Mound City, S.D. with her devoted husband and their two children. It has been a hard year--her husband lost his job 18 months ago--but she has been able to pick up shifts at her job at the diner, and they are plugging along.    

When she gave birth to their second child she experienced some complications, and her obstetrician advised her that another pregnancy would be more difficult and could pose health risks to her or the child. She and her husband use contraception, but two years later, the method fails. When she finds out she is pregnant, suddenly she is facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life. After thought and prayer, and with the support of her husband, she makes the choice to end the pregnancy. She knows that her state has a law requiring that women wait at least 24 hours more before accessing care, so she calls to schedule an appointment with the only abortion provider in South Dakota, already thinking about the five-hour drive to Sioux Falls, where the clinic is located.

But the receptionist on the phone tells her something shocking: because of a new law, she will have to come into the clinic for two appointments; what's more, the two appointments have to be 72 hours apart.

She starts doing the math in her head--can her family afford her three-night stay in a motel? Then she hears the clinic staffer explain that their only provider flies in from out of state just once a week, so the 72-hour wait requirement between appointments really will be at least one week. Her heart sinks--she knows those will be the longest seven days of her life.

With the two appointments scheduled, she asks her manager for the necessary days off. He wants to know why, but she cannot bring herself to share this personal decision with her boss. He says he will get her colleagues to fill her shifts, but that she may not be able to go back to the full schedule she has now when she returns.  

She wants her husband to come with her, but they can't afford childcare. Her insurance doesn't cover abortion services unless her life is under threat, and with the cost of gas and lost wages, her spouse must stay to take care of the kids. Luckily, she has a close friend who is able to come to the first appointment, so she won't be alone.

When she gets to the clinic, her doctor tells her there's yet another requirement to meet, then hands her a list of names of anti-abortion organizations, known as "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs). She'll have to select one of the three, the doctor explains, and go in person for "counseling" and an evaluation.  

The next day, the woman and her friend make their way to this new and perplexing extra appointment. A man in a white coat greets them, tells her friend to wait in the lobby, then ushers her into a back room alone. Soon it becomes clear that her "counselor" is not doing much counseling at all - the questions this stranger asks are really personal. She becomes more and more uncomfortable, but still answers, giving intimate details about her situation, her choice, and her family. The counselor's mood changes and he walks out of the room, and on his way out, turns on a gruesome, terrifying video. She is in tears by the time the counselor returns, but he gruffly begins listing off health problems that he claims are associated with abortion - breast cancer, mental illness, substance abuse.

After the woman is finally allowed to rejoin her friend, on the ride home, they talk about what the counselor had said, and her friend is skeptical because she's never heard of this information. When they get back to Mound City, they start Googling and find the back story behind these false claims. It turns out that what this woman is enduring is the new law requiring all women seeking abortion services first to get an evaluation and counseling at a CPC or, as their anti-choice proponents refer to them, "pregnancy help centers." Sadly, many of these CPCs do nothing to help women, often even intentionally misinforming and misleading women seeking pregnancy-related information, their sole intention to dissuade them from exercising their right to choose. To the anti-choice activists who work at CPCs, "counseling" is lecturing and propaganda, and the only decision deemed "informed" is a decision against abortion care. 

For the next seven days, she relives the interrogation, lecture and nightmarish visuals to which she was subjected. Finally the day of her appointment arrives, and she drives another five hours back to Sioux Falls. By the time her ordeal is over, she will have put nearly 1,300 miles on her odometer.  

At the clinic, her physician tells her that the woman from the CPC, a volunteer with no medical training, has sent over an evaluation of their meeting that includes notes opining about her mental state and capacity to make an informed choice about abortion care. The physician tells her that the notes will be in her medical records permanently, but the bright side, the doctor says, is that at least there is proof she was honest when she signed a form attesting she had even been there. Otherwise, the CPC counselor has no responsibility even to verify that they met--it would be her word against theirs. Finally, her doctor says there's one more step, and begins reciting from a piece of paper--she is informed that she will be ending "the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."   

By the end of her story, this woman will be changed. Her family will have used their limited resources to pay for her care out of pocket, as well as gas for more than 20 hours of driving, two nights in a motel, and lost wages. The future of her job will be at stake. But worse, she will have paid the emotional cost of being subjected to harassment and propaganda. Even before this egregious intrusion into private medical decisions passed into law in March, women in South Dakota faced some of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the country. This woman's story might be fictional, but if the Sioux Falls District Court doesn't stop it from going into effect by Friday, everything she was up against will be very much a reality.  

Are you curious about how other anti-choice laws affect women? Please visit our women's stories section, where you will see what other women had to endure to access safe, legal abortion care.

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CPC Tour is Bound for Boston

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The nationwide CPC tour is heading back east. After a successful tour of Minnesota, California and North Carolina, the next stop is Boston. 

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation will host a free screening of 12th & Delaware on Tuesday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Be sure to reserve your tickets today!

So-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care.

The nationwide CPC tour exposes the dangerous practices of these fake clinics. And right now, we need this exposure wicked bad: South Dakota recently enacted an extreme anti-choice law that forces women to submit to an in-person lecture at a CPC before receiving abortion care!

Tuesday's screening of 12th & Delaware at Northeastern University in Boston will be followed by a panel discussion on how CPCs are affecting women's health in Massachusetts.

If you're in the Boston area, this is one event you won't want to miss! Come to Northeastern University next Tuesday, May 17 at 6 p.m. for a free showing of 12th & Delaware.
 

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Exposing CPCs in Minnesota: You Betcha!

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The nationwide CPC tour is headed for the North Star State! 

Next Tuesday, April 12, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation will host a free screening of 12th and Delaware in Minneapolis. Be sure to reserve your tickets now!

The so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care.

The nationwide CPC tour exposes the dangerous practices of these fake clinics. And there's no more important time for it than now: last month, South Dakota passed an extreme anti-choice law that forces women to submit to an in-person lecture at a CPC before receiving abortion care!

Tuesday's screening of 12th and Delaware at the Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis will be followed by a panel discussion with community leaders to answer questions and discuss how CPCs are affecting women's health in Minnesota.

If you're in the Twin Cities, this is one even you won't want to miss! Come to the Bryant-Lake Bowl next Tuesday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. for a free showing of 12th and Delaware.


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States of Attack: How We're Fighting Back

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Now, pro-choice Texans are saying "enough" to these racist messages from anti-choice activists. 


Don't mess with pro-choice Texans! 

Kudos to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and SisterSong for fighting for every woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions. 


In South Dakota and in legislatures across the USA, this is proving to be a banner year for lawmakers attempting to marginalize a woman's right to choose, under the guise of other objectives.

Thank you to our entire network of state affiliates, who fight to protect women's freedom and privacy in statehouses across the country.




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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."

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Abortion Provider Appreciation Day

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Today is Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. 


Abortion Provider Appreciation Day was established on the anniversary of the murder of Dr. Gunn to honor the medical professionals who continue to face a campaign of violence, vandalism, and intimidation


In fact, bills in South Dakota and Nebraska have made headlines because they failed to explicitly protect abortion providers from violent acts. 

NARAL Pro-Choice New York is commemorating the day by honoring Dr. Susan Hill, an abortion provider and advocate for women's health, who died earlier this year.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington are thanking abortion providers in their states. 

Join us in saluting the brave women and men who provide safe, legal abortion care across the country. 

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The War on Women is blazing its way through the states.

Dennis Daugaard, the anti-choice governor of South Dakota, is expected to sign a bill that forces women to submit to an in-person lecture at an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before accessing abortion care. 

On top of all that, South Dakota's bill also requires that a woman wait a minimum of 72 hours before obtaining care, which is now the longest waiting period in the entire nation. In a rural state like South Dakota, this could mean a forced delay of days or even weeks, compelling women to undergo later abortion care that poses increased health risks.

Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, called the bill an unbelievable intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship:

South Dakota politicians have now made our state the first in the country to pass such a far-reaching bill that disrespects the doctor-patient relationship and turns women's health care into a game of government mandates. Politicians want to tell women who they can talk to before making a profoundly personal medical decision. It is hard to out-do insurance companies and HMOs when it comes to being told what doctor you can see or where you can access medical care, but the legislators behind this bill are doing just that.

The Mount Rushmore State is no stranger to extreme laws that interfere with a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions. In the last five years, the state legislature has passed two near-total bans on abortion care.

Fortunately, South Dakota voters care more about women's freedom and privacy than their politicians do. They rejected two abortion bans in 2006 and 2008, respectively. 

With 15 state governments now under total anti-choice control, other states could pass copycat laws forcing women into CPCs. That's why NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and our network of state affiliates are touring the country to expose the dangerous practices of CPCs

The CPC tour makes its next stop in Portsmouth, N.H., with a screening of 12th & Delaware next Monday. Space is limited, so sign up for the event today!
 

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Last week, the South Dakota state House advanced a bill that would force women to go to an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC) before receiving abortion care

CPCs are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care. Anti-choice groups create CPCs to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many are generally unregulated and unlicensed. If South Dakota's bill forcing women into CPCs becomes law, other states could pass copycat bills. 

That's why NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and our network of state affiliates are kicking off a national tour this week to expose the dangerous practices of CPCs.


We also raised awareness of how CPCs mislead women by organizing 260 house parties in 41 states for the premiere of 12th & Delaware, an HBO documentary about CPCs.

Now, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington Foundation are launching the nationwide CPC tour with a screening of 12th and Delaware in Seattle on Wednesday.

A panel discussion will follow the film:
  • Alison Mondi, public policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, will provide a "lay of the land," discussing how many CPCs there are in the state, where they are located, and a general overview of their tactics.  
  • Kanika Chander, volunteer attorney at Legal Voice, will talk about a proposed bill in the Washington state Legislature that would require that CPCs adhere to truth-in-advertising standards.
  • Dr. Anna Altshuler will provide a medical perspective on why CPCs are problematic, and discuss the types of medical misinformation CPC operators commonly spread.  
  • Kelly McDonald will share her personal story of visiting a CPC.  
After Wednesday's event in Washington state, the CPC tour will hit the road and head for New Hampshire for a screening of 12th and Delaware in Portsmouth on Monday, March 14. Space is limited, so sign up for the event today!

And check back with Blog For Choice for more upcoming events.




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South Dakota Bill Would Force Women into CPCs

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Yes, you read that headline right. (After all, it's Valentine's Day, not April Fools'.)

Anti-choice lawmakers in South Dakota have introduced a bill that would force women to submit to an in-person lecture from an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before receiving abortion care. 

CPCs are fake clinics often staffed by anti-choice activists who mislead and lie to women about abortion and birth control. The primary reason they exist is to scare women away from choosing legal abortion care. 

Don't want to go a CPC? Want medically-accurate information from your own doctor? Think you're the best person to make your own personal, private medical decisions? 

Too bad!

Alicia Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, who testified against this bill at a committee hearing this morning, called it an unbelievable intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship:

This bill is beyond intrusive. These politicians want to tell women who they can talk to before making a profoundly personal medical decision. It is hard to out-do insurance companies and HMOs when it comes to being told what doctor you can see or where you can access medical care, but the legislators behind this bill are doing just that. They want South Dakota to become the first state to pass a bill that disrespects the doctor-patient relationship and turns women's health care into a game of government mandates.

In addition to forcing women to have an in-person interview at an anti-choice organization, the bill also requires that a patient wait a minimum of 72 hours before obtaining care, which could threaten her health. In a rural state like South Dakota, this could mean a forced delay of days or even weeks, compelling women to undergo later abortion care that poses increased health risks.

In 2006 and 2008, South Dakota voters rejected near-total bans on abortion care by wide margins. But anti-choice politicians in Pierre keep coming back for more attacks. 

This outrageous bill passed out of committee this morning, and could be considered by the full state House as early as this week. NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota is working tirelessly to protect access to reproductive-health care in the Mount Rushmore State, and ensure that no politician comes between a woman and her doctor. 

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Anti-Choice Politicians Set Their TRAP

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Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's anti-choice attorney general, was back in the news again last week for singling out abortion providers for medically unnecessary requirements - even though abortion is one of the safest and most regulated medical procedures. But, if Cuccinelli has his way, 17 of Virginia's 21 abortion clinics could close--even one that's provided care for over 35 years.

Blocking access to abortion care -- not protecting women's health or safety -- is Cuccinelli's goal. And Cuccinelli's vehicle of choice (pun intended) for attacking abortion clinics is a common, but little known, anti-choice strategy called TRAP laws: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.  

TRAP laws are politically motivated, unnecessary, or burdensome regulations imposed on abortion providers -- but not other medical professionals. That's the catch. 

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia currently have some sort of TRAP law - although a number of them have been overturned by the courts. Common TRAP laws restrict where abortion care may be provided and force doctors to obtain medically unnecessary additional licenses. 

Some TRAP laws come straight out of the absurd-o-sphere: Mississippi requires that abortion clinics be located in an "attractive" setting. (How considerate!) South Carolina requires abortion clinics to keep outside areas "free of grass that might serve as a haven for insects." In fact, some reporters are making a connection between South Carolina and Virginia.

Last year, the South Dakota Senate considered a bill that would have required physicians providing abortion care to be physically present in the town 24 hours in advance of the procedure. The problem is that no local doctors currently provide abortion services in South Dakota, and doctors travel there from other states. Mandating that physicians arrive a day early could have made it impossible for doctors who work in multiple states during the week to provide care to South Dakotan women. Do women have the right to choose if there's no doctor who can provide this care?

Clearly, TRAP laws have nothing to do with women's health or safety. They're just another way for anti-choice politicians to attack abortion providers, even if it means they close. 

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Good news from South Dakota, according to the AP:

A legislative committee won't require doctors who perform abortions in South Dakota to schedule an appointment with patient a day before the procedure.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 4-3 on Wednesday to kill SB92, which would have required a doctor to schedule time with a patient the day before an abortion, whether the patient wants or keeps the appointment.

Supporters said it's good medical practice to have a consultation at least a day before a procedure such as abortion. Opponents said the bill is an attempt by government to interfere in medical practice.

Excellent! Congratulations to the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, Casey Murschel, for all of your hard work.

State victories make for a good day, especially when they come from South Dakota who has seen more than their fair share of abortion-related bills.

News Round-Up

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Kirsten Suhr is the Associate Director of Communications for Online Strategies at NARAL Pro-Choice America.

I was disappointed to see the results of the Georgia senate race. But thanks to everyone who campaigned and voted for Jim Martin. Let's not forget we still made some terrific gains this year!

A whole slew of interesting choice-related articles and blog posts have come up in the past few days. Here are some of my favorites.

Have you seen any good ones I missed? Feel free to leave a link in the comments. Enjoy!

Casey Murschel - executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, former Republican legislator, and key leader in the coordinated effort to defeat the ban - said the proposal's second consecutive loss hopefully will stop future attacks on a woman's right to choose:

South Dakotans faced long odds against a dangerous and deceptive abortion ban backed by a misleading anti-choice marketing scheme. We never wavered in talking to our neighbors at church or at the grocery store about the need to stop this abortion ban. Tonight, the message to South Dakota's anti-choice groups is clear: Enough is enough--stop trying to make our state the testing ground for efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Let's give a hand to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. Y'all knocked it out of the park on this one.

Launching campaign against the South Dakota ban

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South Dakota has an abortion ban on the ballot this November...am I having déjà vu?

 

Unfortunately not. But South Dakotans rejected a version of it in 2006, and we're going to do all we can to make sure that happens again this fall.

 

To launch this effort, NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota Executive Director Casey Murschel flew to DC and came together today with NARAL Pro-Choice America and several wonderful partners: South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

 

As Nancy Keenan said this afternoon, this effort threatens the entire country, because those behind the ban want to see it lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Today's Wall Street Journal article echoes Nancy's sentiments:

 

"Ban proponents hope it would be challenged in court and eventually entice the Supreme Court to revisit Roe. That is where the presidential race comes in. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama has said abortion should remain legal and wants to preserve Roe, while Republican Sen. John McCain wants Roe to be overturned."

 

There's a lot of great organizations fighting this ban, but that doesn't mean they don't need help. Make sure you check out NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota and South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families to see what you can do to get involved and spread the word.

 

Let's have good déjà vu this year - South Dakota firmly rejecting the ban.

South Dakota Abortion Ban Update

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Despite the fact that South Dakota's abortion laws are among the most restrictive in the country, the anti-choice group Vote Yes For Life filed their petition for a ban on abortion on Monday. Leslee Unruh, the executive director of Vote Yes For Life that led the group's failed campaign to ban abortion in 2006, claims to have turned in close to 50,000 signatures.

While the near total abortion ban was rejected in 2006 by 56 percent of South Dakotans, this year's ban would "make it a class 4 felony to perform any kind of abortion or prescribe, procure or sell drugs or any other items to induce abortion unless the exceptions applied." From the Rapid City Journal:

... opponents of this year's initiative say the exceptions in the proposal are too onerous and intrusive to be workable. Dr. Marvin Buehner of Rapid City, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, said the law would require doctors performing an abortion to collect DNA from the woman and fetal tissue, and then be responsible for the "chain of custody" to law enforcement officers. Violations could mean a Class 4 felony, which would intimidate most doctors, Buehner said.

Requiring proof that a pregnancy poses a "serious risk of substantial and irreversible harm to major bodily functions" before an abortion could be performed would create "a pretty high bar," Buehner said.

"I just don't know any physicians who would chance that," he said. "Women with health problems would be likely to be sent out of state."

Buehner, board member with the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, said voters who rejected the 2006 ban send a message that Unruh and others supporting the initiative are trying to ignore.

"I think when they voted, the majority felt that 'no' meant 'no' on this," he said. "And from my standpoint as a physician, these exceptions really don't constitute exceptions."

Read more here and please visit the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota to see how you can get involved. You can also download an incredibly useful document, "Behind the Ban: Politics and South Dakota's Abortion Ban" by clicking here.

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