Attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Sioux Falls against a new South Dakota law requiring that women undergo a 72 hour waiting period and mandatory counseling from a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before obtaining an abortion. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed the bill into law in March, and it is scheduled to go into effect July 1.
Planned Parenthood attorney Mimi Liu stated, “The Act has both the purpose and the effect of severely restricting access to health care, and violates patients’ and physicians’ First Amendment rights against compelled speech and patients’ right to privacy in their personal and medical information.”
South Dakota is the first state in the country to mandate a 72 hour waiting period, although 25 states currently require a 24 hour waiting period. After the law takes effect, women seeking abortions could have to make multiple trips to South Dakota’s only abortion provider in Sioux Falls.
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs often pose as comprehensive health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and do not offer women neutral or comprehensive medical advice. Often CPCs are run by anti-abortion zealots who are not licensed medical professionals.