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June 27, 2012


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

#CIV-11- 4071-KES

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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7 comments

God bless Leslee Unruh for her tireless efforts.

[1] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 6-27-2012 at 06:18 PM · [top]

Amen, mwn.  I so admire her - she’s way more durable and way more charitable than I can ever hope to be.

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-27-2012 at 06:22 PM · [top]

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.”


What will they do to protect the women who choose not to abort, if so many are murdered by the baby’s father?  The law is protecting the babies, allowing the women to save their baby’s life, which is great, but it looks like that choice is a serious risk of her own life. 

So what can be, or is being, done to protect and help these women?

[3] Posted by maineiac on 6-27-2012 at 07:29 PM · [top]

maineiac - fair question.  A second provision of the law (still being challenged) requires counseling at an abortion alternatives center.  I know the Alpha Center well - they help with material needs and safety needs - they advocate for the mother’s life as well as the child’s. 

It really is a choice between offering pregnant women a secret “procedure” and return to a destructive status quo or a supportive, life affirming community of support and new life.

[4] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-27-2012 at 07:38 PM · [top]

Timothy - I hope I didn’t come across as challenging the law or supporting abortion.  I think South Dakota is great on this.  The anti-coercion law is wonderfully protective of the baby and protects the woman from being forced to have an abortion. 

I’d never seen anything about pregnant women being murdered by the babies’ fathers.  I’ve heard of plenty of fathers walking off, but even when I lived in Baltimore (childhood till my mid-40s; at least 10 yrs straight of >300 murders, home of the “Homicide” tv show), prg women being murdered by their babies’ fathers wasn’t something I heard of. 

Baltimore DID have a “House of Ruth,”  a place for women to go for safety from abuse.  They cd take their children w/ them.  I don’t know if there was a special “House of Ruth”-equivalent for women resisting abortion

I look f/w to seeing more about this SD movement against abortion. 

I can only imagine the responses I’ll see in other places about how awful this ruling is…..  Planned Parenthood’s own statistics include well over 300,000 abortions each year - that’s a million in 3 yrs, in USA alone.  (and we wonder why the proportion of those becoming eligible for Social Security over those contributing to the SS funds is so out of balance???)

[5] Posted by maineiac on 6-27-2012 at 08:49 PM · [top]

Like you Maineiac, I have never heard of pregnant women being murdered by the bio father. I never realized the coercion involved in PP centers.  I am glad that the Alpha Center and Ms.  Unruh have intervened in the lawsuit. Those changes hopefully will allow pregnant women to make better choices. Ms. Unruh must be an incredibly compassionate woman who truly cares for others esp. these at risk pregnant woman.

[6] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-28-2012 at 07:55 AM · [top]

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