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South Dakota Legislature Looks to Amend Abortion Law

Anti-abortion protesters
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

PIERRE – Despite the ongoing legal challenge to the existing forced waiting period and anti-abortion consultation law, the South Dakota Senate is poised to double down.

As it stands, South Dakota already has the longest waiting period in the nation and is the only state that requires such a specific form of consultation. Now, even after Planned Parenthood has dropped its challenge of the waiting period, legislators want to amend the law to ensure that holidays and weekends don’t count toward the 72 hours.

Beyond the extremely questionable requirements of the existing law, there is no reason to extend the waiting period other than to make difficulty for Planned Parenthood and women who have chosen to end their pregnancies.

The rationale given is that it is too much of a burden for the Crisis Pregnancy Center to staff their facility on weekends and holidays, especially given the religious commitments of their volunteers.

Note that because there is only one facility in the entire state where abortions are performed, long drives and/or overnight stays are a likelihood for many women who are seeking the procedure exactly because they cannot afford additional expenses or time off from work.

Why in the first place are women, who have undoubtedly already agonized over what is likely the most difficult decision they have ever had to make, being forced by the state into a religious inquisition that is specifically designed to induce second guessing and feelings of guilt?

Why does the state not trust women to make these decisions on their own, without religious input, and on the weekend when applicable?

Why are legislators concerned with the convenience of volunteers looking to browbeat women, who know best what their financial circumstances will allow, into changing their minds? Why are these legislators not instead trying to correct the (mostly economic) problems that have those women convinced now is not the time to be pregnant?

Still no word on whether the legislature will initiate a measure to make people who want to buy an assault weapon wait until after they can be scheduled in to a state mandated appointment with a peacenik, emotional counselor.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.

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