Proposed “No Weekends or Holidays” Waiting Period Could Eliminate Access to Safe Abortion Care in South Dakota

Should the latest plan to change the waiting period to 72 hours — not including weekends — pass, activists worry that the clinic may no longer be able to offer abortions.

(Gawker via MoveOn.Org)

Updated on Thursday, February 7th at 4:45 p.m. Central.

The recently proposed “no weekends, no holidays” 72 hour waiting period in South Dakota may, if passed, have exactly the effect anti-choice legislators hoped: It could eliminate access to safe, legal abortion care in the state.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota executive director Alisha Sedor, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota’s local South Dakota has informed her organization that if HB 1237 goes into effect, the provider may no longer be able to offer terminations in the state.

“After consideration and conversations with our coalition partners, we have determined that the impact of this legislation is worse than we originally thought,” Sedor told Rewire. “H.B.1237, if passed, will severely limit access to abortion in South Dakota, making it virtually impossible for women to access needed reproductive health-care. The measure could make it impossible for the state’s only comprehensive women’s health clinic to continue providing abortion services, effectively banning abortion in South Dakota.”

That was no doubt exactly the intention behind the bill, which would in essence stretch the forced waiting period anywhere from five days to a full week for women seeking safe abortion care, conditions it would be too onerous for the provider to accommodate because a doctor flies into South Dakota from out-of-state to serve patients. Should the bill pass, that could be exactly what occurs.