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South Dakota Law Now Requires 72 Hour Wait Before Undergoing An Abortion

You can expect this law will be challenged on constitutional grounds:

South Dakota’s governor signed into law on Tuesday the longest abortion waiting period in the nation at 72 hours, and opponents immediately promised a legal challenge to stop it from going into effect. The law signed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard also requires a woman to submit to counseling to ensure her decision to have an abortion is “voluntary, uncoerced, and informed.”

The new law is one of many abortion curbs being pushed by conservative lawmakers in dozens of states this year. Other proposals include bans on late-term abortions and requirements that providers offer women sonograms of their fetuses. “I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,” Daugaard said in a statement. “I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.”

No other U.S. state has a waiting period longer than 24 hours, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports reproductive rights. The South Dakota law also is the first in the nation to require a counseling session at a center whose mission is to encourage women to continue their pregnancies. “While we recognize that the ACLU will probably bring this to court, the bill has been designed to protect women,” said Republican Representative Roger Hunt, who sponsored the bill.

Planned Parenthood, which operates the only health center in South Dakota that provides abortions, said on Tuesday it would file a lawsuit to stop the law. Supporters of the legislation have pledged to raise private funds to finance a defense of the law, scheduled to take effect July 1. Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said the law was an “egregious violation” of the Constitution.


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