New abortion law causes controversy in South Dakota

Published: Mar. 8, 2018 at 10:33 PM CST
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It’s being called a win for the pro-life movement.

Wednesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill into law designed to require women to consider more counseling before deciding to have an abortion.

But the officials from ACLU of South Dakota and Planned Parenthood say it infringes on women's rights.

The law has two parts.

First it says...

“Planned Parenthood has failed in their obligation to provide accurate information and counseling to these women,” Senator Al Novstrup said. He sponsored SB110 as it went through the legislature.

But officials from the organization have released a statement saying the law is misleading.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Planned Parenthood complies with all laws. In fact, the Department of Health inspects us on a regular basis,” Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Communications Director Jen Aulwes said.

According to the Department of Health website, Planned Parenthood was found to be in compliance as recently as September 2017.

The law also requires women to go to the Alpha Center to decide whether or not they would like counseling from the nonprofit before having an abortion.

“So that they know there are other options and that they can have truly an informed consent. It doesn’t decide for them whether they are going to have an abortion or not,” Alpha Center Medical Director Glen Ridder said.

Novstrup says he says this provision could protect women from coercion.

“A high percentage of women who get abortions because a man forced them to have the abortion. How is that women's rights,” he said.

But Planned Parenthood officials see it differently.

“Crisis pregnancy centers have a long history of misleading women or telling them all kinds of things about abortions that are not true,” Aulwes said.

The ACLU of South Dakota also finds mandating the trip to the Alpha Center problematic.

“In reality it's a way to shame women into whatever decision they've decided to make, whether or not to have an abortion or not,” ACLU of South Dakota Executive Director Heather Smith said.

Even though this new law is causing controversy, it isn't going to make any immediate changes to the way Planned Parenthood performs abortions in South Dakota.

This law is an amendment to a bill passed in 2011 that is currently being challenged in court as to whether or not it is constitutional.