South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) signed an extreme anti-abortion bill into law Tuesday requiring that women undergo a 72 hour waiting period and mandatory counseling from a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before obtaining an abortion. Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, clarified that CPCs are “they’re not licensed, they’re not regulated, they’re not accredited and they’re openly ideological.” The law does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
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 July 1, women seeking abortions could have to make multiple trips to South Dakota’s only abortion provider in Sioux Falls. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that they would file a lawsuit against South Dakota.
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.