South Dakota to Honor Religious “Crisis Centers” for Women Wanting Abortion

From DakotaWomen Blog

You knew they couldn’t resist. So get ready for HB1217: An act to establish certain legislative findings pertaining to the decision of a pregnant mother considering termination of her relationship with her child by an abortion, to establish certain procedures to better insure that such decisions are voluntary, uncoerced, and informed, and to revise certain causes of action for professional negligence relating to performance of an abortion.

A few things to note before I get to the full text:
1. Note the reference to pregnancy care centers. To anyone who thought the resolution honoring CPCs was meaningless, here’s your proof to the contrary. This bill would REQUIRE women to go to these non-governmental, non-medical, often religiously affiliated lie centers before they could get an abortion. The law also would make it impossible to establish a crisis pregnancy center that was not anti-choice.

2. Much the recent law that made its way to federal court in the form of Rounds v. Planned Parenthood, this bill pretends to be about ‘informed consent,’ while actually being about making it as difficult as possible for a woman to obtain an abortion. This bill creates a 72 hour waiting period!

3. This bill is so unconstitutional it’s not funny. Of course, while our legislature loves to bitch and moan about how little money we have, they have no problem setting up the state to spend millions defending unconstitutional legislation year after year.

From South Dakota Planned Parenthood

This week the South Dakota State Legislature passed a resolution honoring pregnancy care centers. Those of us who are professionally trained to provide health care for women know that many “pregnancy care centers” or crisis pregnancy centers can be a dangerous place. Many are not regulated by any agency, such as the Department of Health and they can be staffed with volunteers that have little or no training. 

We know the pro-choice community took some hits this November. But that doesn’t explain some of the votes that happened on Wednesday. While we expected the resolution to pass, it doesn’t keep us from being disappointed that only one senator had the courage to vote against it. Freshman Senator Angie Buhl was the one dissenting voice. (Technically, Senator Jim Hunstead left the floor.) Senator Buhl shared her feelings about the vote here.

Planned Parenthood will continue to be a safe place for women and men looking for information. We hire highly trained professionals and we will continue to fight every day for the women and families of South Dakota.

A blog from the lone dissenting voice in the SD Legislature, Senator Angie Buhl

Then there are crisis pregnancy centers, sometimes referred to as “pregnancy care centers.”  These are centers that pose as legitimate sexual health clinics, purporting to provide “abortion services.”  They aren’t neutral parties providing information to women about *all* of their reproductive options.  They exist to persuade unwitting women out of terminating pregnancies, using any coercive tactics they deem necessary.  In South Dakota, this is places like the Alpha Center and Bethany Christian Services.

So, when I saw a resolution come up this week that “honors pregnancy care centers,” I wasn’t thrilled.  Granted, resolutions don’t have the full force of law, and are purely symbolic, so honoring them doesn’t entirely “do” anything.  It does, however, provide legitimacy to centers that exist largely to lie to women.

In the five years I have lived in South Dakota this is the third attempt to limit women’s reproductive rights. Each attempt becomes sneakier and more back-handed. Small bites to limit what a woman does to her own body. Informed information comes from a doctor providing sound medical advise and not from a religious organization spouting dogmatic tripe and brow-beating women for making their own choices.

If you are from South Dakota please take moment to email your representative and let them know how you feel.