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South Dakota's 'odious' new abortion waiting period
A new state law requires women to wait 72 hours and undergo counseling before having an abortion. Is that constitutional?
 
Activists during a March for Life rally in January: South Dakota's governor signed a restrictive anti-abortion bill into law on Tuesday.
Activists during a March for Life rally in January: South Dakota's governor signed a restrictive anti-abortion bill into law on Tuesday.
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On Tuesday, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed a "precedent-setting" anti-abortion bill into law. The new law mandates that women considering an abortion undergo a 72-hour waiting period — the longest in the country — and get counseling at a "pregnancy help center" to learn about their other options, something no other state requires. Some are calling the legislation "odious" and "unconstitutional." Are they right, or is it simply making sure women take the time to consider their decision? (Watch a local report about South Dakota's new law)

This just gives women the time they need: "I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," says South Dakota's governor, Dennis Daugaard, in a statement quoted by The Christian Science Monitor. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
"South Dakota anti-abortion law breaks new ground"

No, this is an invasion of privacy: The new law is "government intrusion into people's medical decisions," says Peggy Gibson, a Democratic state representative who voted against the bill, as quoted in The New York Times. South Dakota women should not have to get a lecture from "an unqualified, noncertified, faith-based counselor or volunteer at an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center" to obtain an abortion.
"Women seeking abortions in South Dakota to get anti-abortion advice"

It's also unconstitutional: This new law "ignores women's First Amendment rights to decline to attend anti-abortion lectures," says Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic. "If this seems reasonable to you, think about a similar law that would require pregnant women, or women planning pregnancies, to undergo counseling about the risks of childbirth, the economic costs of raising children, and the possibility that they'll break your heart."
"Free speech hypocrisies of pro-lifers"

 

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