A South Dakota state legislative panel has signed off on a bill that would require women to visit a pregnancy center before going to an abortion business if they are considering having an abortion.
The idea behind the bill — which goes further than legislation in other states — is to get women tangible pregnancy help and support that they won’t normally find at an abortion center.
A September 2010 report the Planned Parenthood abortion business issued of its own abortion numbers found, while abortions are on the rise at Planned Parenthood, adoption referrals declined to just 2,405 — a 51 percent drop since 2007. Planned Parenthood now does 134 abortions for every adoption referral it makes.
The abortion business also helped only 9,433 prenatal clients, down substantially from the 11,000 women it provided prenatal care to in 2007. Combined with the number of abortion referrals, 96.5 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood had abortions while just 3.5 percent of pregnant women received non-abortion services including adoption and prenatal care.
Several women who testified before the Judiciary Committee in its hearing on the bill said the state’s lone abortion center, run by Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, does not provide adequate pre-abortion counseling.
Brittany Weston, of Yankton, became pregnant at age 22 and her partner insisted she have an abortion because he did not want to pay child support to pay for raising the baby. Before the abortion, Weston only spoke with staff at Planned Parenthood and she said she wanted the abortion clinic to provide her with help on how to deal with the situation — instead, it did an abortion and took the life of her child.
“If this bill you’re discussing today was law at that time, I would have my child right now and he would be about 5 years old,” Weston said. “They took something from me I’ll never get back — my child and my soul.”
Opponents of the measure claimed pregnancy centers harass women and pressure them into not having abortions but typically they have little evidence to back up the claims. Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL’s South Dakota chapter was one of the people who testified against the bill.
Rep. Roger Hunt, a Republican from Brandon, is the main sponsor of the bill, and he told the Associated Press he filed it because the women who go to the Sioux Falls Planned Parenthood don’t typically get full information about alternatives or the risks or consequences associated with an abortion. He said the abortions are done by out-of-town abortion practitioners who have no relationship with the women.
“Life is what we’re talking about here, the termination of life without real information, without informed consent,” Hunt said.
The bill also says the abortion can’t be done until after the mother considering it meets with the abortion practitioner and that paperwork certifies she is voluntarily seeking the abortion.The consultation must come 72 hours prior to the abortion. The mother must also visit the pregnancy center to get a list of information and agencies that can help them keep their baby and raise the child and the South Dakota state health department would furnish a list of such centers.
The Judiciary Committee voted 9-4 for the bill, which now goes to the full state House.
Kimberly Martinez, executive director of the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, told legislators her pregnancy center has trained experts ready to assist pregnant women with options and alternatives.