Waiting Periods in South Dakota: Guns v. Abortions

Last week, South Dakota became the first state in the country to authorize teachers to carry handguns in the classroom. South Dakota already had some of the most lax gun laws in the country. Back in 2009, the state passed a law repealing the waiting period to purchase handguns, meaning there is now no mandatory waiting period—none at all—to buy a gun.

Meanwhile, the state has been passing ever-more draconian waiting periods to access another constitutionally protected right: abortion. In 2011, the state passed a new law requiring a woman to consult with her doctor, visit an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy center,” and then wait 72 hours before she can actually have an abortion. Two weeks ago, the state legislature passed another new law excluding weekends and holidays from the 72-hour waiting period, which means a woman may actually have to wait five or six days between her first appointment and the actual abortion procedure.



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