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March 8, 2013

The War on Women’s Health Continues in the States

Just days after Arkansas passed the country’s most extreme anti-abortion law, South Dakota’s mandatory delay laws become the toughest in the nation

Washington, D.C.Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, condemned anti-choice politicians in South Dakota for signing into law an unprecedented mandatory-delay bill for women seeking abortion care.

The law places even more burdens on women seeking this care. It redefines the state’s extreme 72-hour forced waiting period to apply to business days—weekends and holidays would be excluded. This is the state’s third mandatory-delay bill to be signed into law in three years.

“We cannot know every woman’s circumstances when she is making such a difficult decision,” said Hogue. “We do know that anti-choice politicians have no place in these choices. This law suggests that politicians know which days of the week a woman can think about her reproductive health. It directly contradicts the ideals of freedom and privacy that our country was founded on. Placing such extreme burdens on women seeking abortion care shows a lack of respect for women to make their own health-care decisions. It’s insulting that these anti-choice lawmakers continue to show so little compassion for the very women they were elected to represent. The women of South Dakota deserve better.”

This bill is just the latest round of amendments to an extreme law first passed in 2011. That law forces a woman to submit to a state-mandated in-person lecture at an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC), wait 72 hours, and make two trips before getting the access she needs. The law was enjoined for its unprecedented attacks on women’s right to privacy. Last year, the law was amended to require doctors to interrogate women about deeply personal topics, including her religious beliefs—even if it is against her will. However, it also was enjoined. 

This latest anti-choice move comes just days after the Arkansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto to sign the harshest anti-abortion law in the country—a 12-week abortion ban.

Hogue continued, “These anti-choice politicians are in direct opposition with public opinion. Despite the majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose, anti-choice politicians relentlessly attack access to this care. Inserting themselves into women’s private health-care decisions is completely out of step with our nation’s values and priorities.”

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