South Dakota legislators have spent much time and energy over the years pumping out law after law, petty and big, doing what they can to make legal abortion ever more troublesome to obtain in the Mt. Rushmore state. On Thursday, they did it again. By a vote of 24-9, the senate passed a bill
already passed by the house (with a margin of 56-13) that adds another obstacle to an existing obstacle to abortion, the state's mandated 72-hour waiting period. Henceforth, say
80 assholes in the 105-member legislature:
No Saturday, Sunday, federal holiday, or state holiday may be included or counted in the calculation of the seventy-two hour minimum time period between the initial physician consultation and assessment and the time of the scheduled abortion procedure.
The forced-birther in the Governor's Residence, Republican Dennis Daugaard, has not commented, but he is expected to sign the bill.
Join me below the fold to learn why women can't think on weekends (or holidays).
What's the purpose behind this fresh affront to South Dakota women's right to control their own bodies? Back in 2011, the waiting period was instituted along with mandated counseling by so-called pregnancy crisis centers. Nationwide, these notorious operations are run by forced-birthers who actively discourage women from getting abortions by disinforming them about health risks, and telling other lies.
"This bill has absolutely nothing to do with helping women. Instead, this bill is about further delaying women from having an abortion and protecting the convenience and schedules of crisis pregnancy centers—a stunningly cynical use of the Legislature and of taxpayer dollars," Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota President Sarah Stoesz said in the statement.
Planned Parenthood had challenged the waiting period, but abandoned that effort late last year. It is expected to go into effect in the next few weeks. This will place a hardship on women because there is only a single clinic providing abortions in the state, in Sioux Falls. Since no South Dakota physicians will perform abortions at the clinic, the procedures are done by physicians who fly in from Minnesota every week.
For working women, the waiting period would have presented enough trouble in its original form. A woman living in, say, Rapid City, would have to drive the 325 miles to Sioux Falls, consult with her doctor, then either drive back home and make the same trip three days later, or check into a motel and wait for the 72 hours to expire. But at least most of the waiting time could be eaten up by a weekend, which would, for women on a regular work schedule, not require extra days off the job. But now, since weekends and holidays won't count, a woman could wind up waiting over a three-day weekend as long as six days for her abortion after the consultation with her physician.
South Dakota women aren't strangers to the rancid efforts of the state's lawmakers to govern their uteruses. In 2006, the legislature passed a rapist-friendly, molester-enabling, coathanger-selling, health-shattering, woman-hating, forced-pregnancy law called the Women's Health and Human Life Protection Act. It would have forbidden terminating a pregnancy in nearly every circumstance, with the exception of saving the life of the mother. It was intended as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling 40 years ago that made abortion legal across the land. The only thing that stopped the law from being implemented was a ballot referendum in which voters shot it down 56 percent to 44 percent.
The legislators tried again to ban all abortions in 2008, this time adding exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. Voters defeated that one by nearly the same margin. These were draconian proposals. But the little laws, like this latest one, don't get subjected to referendums. Instead, they nibble, nibble, nibble at women's reproductive rights. A bite here, a bite there, and pretty soon, as we have seen across the country, all the way back to the 1970s, the practical right to an abortion is half gone or worse, even though the legal right is still on the books.
As South Dakota and so many other states have repeatedly shown, the forced-birthers are determined to end abortion any way they can, and they are not only relentless but also endlessly innovative in this regard.