South Dakota Governor Signs Bill for Longest Abortion Waiting Period

State   Steven Ertelt   Mar 8, 2013   |   6:14PM    Pierre, SD

Today, the governor of South Dakota signed a bill that institutes the longest waiting period for an abortion in the nation. The law excludes weekends and holidays from the state’s 72-hour waiting period for abortions.

The law is intended to help women considering an abortion find better alternatives than taking the life of their child when they believe they are not prepared or financially sufficient enough to keep their baby.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, had supported the concept of a longer waiting period, which addresses a practical consideration in that counseling is available during business hours, a spokesman said, according to Reuters. The law potentially extends a waiting period to six days if a woman seeks abortion services just before a three-day weekend. Utah also has a 72-hour waiting period.

But the Reuters report indicates the nation’s biggest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion clinic in South Dakota, in Sioux Falls, opposed the measure.

“We are very disappointed that the state has chosen to further burden women with medically unnecessary waiting restrictions on abortion,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

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Planned Parenthood has dropped a legal challenge to South Dakota’s 72-hour waiting period but continues to contest the state law requiring women to attend a counseling session at an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center.

The 72-hour waiting period in South Dakota has been on hold pending that challenge and will begin to be enforced within the next several weeks, the organization said.