In South Dakota, Women Can’t Think on Weekends

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=confused+woman&search_group=#id=119875249&src=6743488A-828A-11E2-89FD-7D399EA4A24C-1-0">Hasloo Group Production Studio</a>/Shutterstock


On Thursday, South Dakota lawmakers approved a bill that will make its waiting period for abortions—already the most restrictive in the country—even more cumbersome. As we have reported here previously, the state already has a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, but this new bill will exclude weekends and holidays from that time period—since, you know, women are not capable of thinking about their abortion adequately on a Saturday or Sunday.

Current law already requires a woman to consult with her doctor, then visit an anti-abortion organization called a crisis pregnancy center, and then wait 72 hours before she can actually have an abortion. This new law, which passed in the Senate on Thursday by a 24 to 9 vote, will mean that a woman who goes in for her initial consultation for an abortion on a Wednesday would have to wait five days before she can have actually have the procedure—six if she goes in before a long weekend. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

South Dakota has only one abortion provider, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, and its doctors fly in from out of state. Women already travel from as far as six hours away to reach the clinic. While the clinic has said that has been able to find a way to make the 72-hour waiting period work, it thinks this new law will make it next to impossible for many women to access an abortion.

“It could mean that abortion is virtually inaccessible for many women, if not all women,” Alisha Sedor, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, told Mother Jones. “It doesn’t matter if abortion is legal in South Dakota if de facto women can’t access services.”

South Dakota voters have twice rejected a ban on abortion at the polls, in 2006 and 2008. But lawmakers have continued to chip away at access over the past few years. “South Dakotans have spoken on this issue and they do not want politicians interfering with the personal medical decision-making,” said Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

The new law’s critics have been having some fun on bill sponsor Jon Hansen’s Facebook page, asking him for advice about weekend decisions since their tiny woman brains obviously can’t handle them. Here are a few gems:

 

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate