Planned Parenthood sued the state of South Dakota last Friday over a new law that requires women to receive counseling at a “pregnancy help center” before they can have an abortion, and imposes a 72-hour waiting period between that counseling and when a doctor can perform the procedure.
In a press release, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota said that the new law toughens what were already the most stringent abortion laws in the nation and infringes on both patients’ and doctors’ First Amendment rights against “compelled speech.”
“This law goes farther than any other in the country in intruding on the doctor-patient relationship, and putting women and families at risk,” Sarah Stoesz, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota was quoted as saying in the press release.
The law, H.B. 1217, is framed as a measure intended to prevent women from the threat of “induced abortion.” It states that women are too often inadequately informed about the implications of abortions, and that the laws purpose is to, “protect the pregnant mother’s interest in her relationship with her child”
The law requires women to complete several steps before they have an abortion. First, a doctor must certify that a woman’s decision has not been influenced by “coercion, subtle or otherwise.” After that, women must attend a pregnancy help center to hear the risks associated with their decision. Once both of those requirements have been met, women must then still wait 72 hours before they can actually have the procedure.
According to Planned Parenthood the three-day waiting period would be the longest in the country.
The law was passed back in March, and is not scheduled to go into effect until July.