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US state to have 3-day wait for abortion

US state to have 3-day wait for abortion

South Dakota's governor signed a law Tuesday requiring women in the north-central state to wait three days after meeting with a doctor to have an abortion, the longest waiting period in the U.S.
Abortion rights groups immediately said they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which also requires women to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard who gave no interviews after signing the bill, said in a written statement that he has conferred with state attorneys who will defend the law in court and a sponsor who has pledged private money to finance the state's legal costs.
"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," the Republican governor said the statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
About half the U.S. states, including South Dakota, now have 24-hour waiting periods, but the state's new law is the first of its kind in having a three-day waiting period and requiring women to seek counseling at pregnancy help centers, said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
Planned Parenthood, which operates South Dakota's only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said they will ask a judge to strike down the measure as unconstitutional. Kathi Di Nicola, of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said the law would intrude on women's right to make personal decisions about medical treatment and require women seeking abortions to receive counseling from unlicensed and unaccredited pregnancy centers that are often religiously motivated.
Supporters of the measure say the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls gives women little information or counseling before they have abortions done by doctors flown in from out of state. The bill would help make sure women are not being coerced into abortions by boyfriends or relatives, they said.
"Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child," said state Rep. Roger Hunt, the main sponsor of the law.
The law, which takes effect July 1, says 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.
Before getting an abortion, a woman also will have to consult with a pregnancy help center to get information about services available to help her give birth and keep a child. The state will publish a list of pregnancy help centers, all of which seek to persuade women to give birth.
Voters rejected statewide ballot measures in 2006 and 2008 that would have banned most abortions in the state. Those measures sought to provoke a court challenge of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.


Updated : 2021-04-11 19:06 GMT+08:00