I was never sure how long it would take me to decide whether or not to have an abortion. Now I know! Thank you to South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard for stipulating that all women need 72 hours to make this personal decision. It’s a relief to have this kind of clarity. Especially from a leader who, I’m sure, can totally relate to what it’s like to be pregnant.
Yes, it’s true that yesterday, Governor Daugaard signed a law stating that a woman in South Dakota who wants an abortion must undergo a 72 hour waiting period, making his state the first one in the country to require such an extensive waiting period. (There are 25 states that require a 24 hour waiting period.)
According to the new law, a woman who lives in SD must also get counseling from a ‘Crisis Pregnancy Center’ before having an abortion.
What is a ‘Crisis Pregnancy Center’?
Ms Magazine reports:
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs often pose as comprehensive health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and do not offer women neutral or comprehensive medical advice. Often CPCs are run by anti-abortion zealots who are not licensed medical professionals.
It’s hypocritical– not to mention paternalistic and unrealistic– for so-called small government advocates to legislate how long a woman should ruminate– be it 24 hours or 72 or 102– on whether or not she’s going to have an abortion. Before going to get an abortion, women have considered their lives and their situations and what they need to do. But South Dakota’s invasive law may only be the first of many like it to follow. The San Jose Mercury News reports:
Dozens of bills are advancing through statehouses nationwide that would put an array of new obstacles-legal, financial and psychological-in the paths of women seeking abortions.
The tactics vary: mandatory sonograms and anti-abortion counseling, sweeping limits on insurance coverage, bans on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy…they add up to the biggest political threat since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide.
…Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee have been scrambling to keep up with legislative developments: “Until the bills get on the governors’ desks, it’s premature to claim victory. But it’s moving faster than it has in previous years. … We’re very pleased with the progress thus far.”
If you are going to be in the Bay Area next Monday, you can do something for reproductive rights. Go to the Power of Choice Luncheon which Dagmar Dolby has been leading since 1996.