Federal Judge lets part of SD abortion law go into effect - UPDATED
A U.S. District Court Judge is allowing enforcement of South Dakota’s law requiring doctors to assess for coercion and psychological risks to women seeking an abortion.
Other provisions of the law, including a three day waiting period and counseling in abortion alternatives, are awaiting the outcome of legal challenges from the abortion industry.
UPDATE: The following press release came by email from the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls:
From: Alpha Center, Black Hills Pregnancy Center
Re: Planned Parenthood v. Jackley, Alpha Center et al, Fed. Dist. Ct. Docket
Contact: Harold Cassidy 732-747-3999
Leslee Unruh 605-361-3500
On June 30, 2011, the Honorable Karen E. Schreier entered a Preliminary Injunction enjoining most of South Dakota’s Anti-Coercion Abortion Law, HB 1217. Most of that Injunction was dissolved by an Order of Judge Schreier entered today. As a result, the following important provisions of the Act will be in effect as of July 1, 2012:
1. Planned Parenthood can no longer have a clerk schedule abortion surgery - which
has been its practice - without a physician first seeing a pregnant mother, compelling
a change in the practices at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility;
2. Starting on July 1, 2012, only a physician can schedule an abortion, and only after the
physician first performs an assessment, which includes an assessment to determine
if the pregnant mother is being pressured or coerced into having an abortion. Until
now, no such assessments were performed, and no physician saw the pregnant mother
until after the surgery was scheduled and only after she was required to sign a consent
for the abortion and only after she was required to pay for the abortion; and
3. The physician must now assess the pregnant mother by screening for certain risk
factors that would place her at risk for serious psychological injury if the abortion
was performed. Until now, such screening has not been done.
In December 2011, the Federal District Court signed an Order granting Alpha Center’s, located in Sioux Falls, SD and CareNet Pregnancy Help Center’s located in Rapid City, motion to intervene in the Federal lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood, which claimed the law was unconstitutional. Alpha Center and CareNet are two of the three pregnancy help centers in South Dakota that are on the State’s Registry, which permits them to provide special counseling to pregnant mothers considering an abortion, which is required by the 2011 law.
The two pregnancy help centers are now intimately involved in defending the provisions of the law that help protect pregnant mothers against pressure and coercion by providing the special counseling from pregnancy help centers that have special expertise in counseling women against coercion. The 72 hour period in which the physician cannot perform an abortion is designed to insure that the pregnant mothers have an adequate opportunity to seek help from the pregnancy help centers.
Alpha Center and CareNet are completely confident that when the case is concluded all provisions of the Act will be upheld as constitutional and the women of South Dakota will benefit from the counseling at the pregnancy help centers.
Leslee Unruh, founder and CEO of Alpha Center stated “Today’s order is a good start in providing some measure of protection for pregnant mothers in South Dakota. We look forward to the entire Act being upheld and we stand ready to assist these mothers in their time of need.”
Harold Cassidy, the attorney representing the pregnancy help centers in the Federal lawsuit, observed that there are studies and data that demonstrate that the number one cause of death among pregnant mothers is murder, and a high incidence of those murders are at the hands of men who fathered the women’s unborn children. Those murders occur after the mothers refused to have abortions. “Abuse of pregnant mothers, who want to keep their unborn children, is at a crisis proportion in this country.” Cassidy said. South Dakota, he observed, is one of numerous states that have passed laws, in recent years, to protect against women being pressured or coerced into having abortions they don’t want. “South Dakota’s Anti Coercion Law,” Cassidy said, “will be the best and most effective of these laws, providing pregnant mothers with the best protection.”
Both Alpha Center and CareNet successfully intervened in the lawsuit, brought by Planned Parenthood, which attacked South Dakota’s 2005 Abortion Informed Consent Law and helped to successfully defend that law.
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