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South Dakota Bill Requiring Waiting Period and Counseling (HB 1217)

This law was last updated on Feb 12, 2018


South Dakota


HB 1217




Jan 31, 2011


Supporteds: 1
Primary Sponsors: 38
Total Sponsors: 39


Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Waiting Periods and Forced Counseling

Full Bill Text

*This law is partially blocked*

HB 1217 requires that a woman seeking an abortion wait 72 hours and visit a crisis pregnancy center prior to the abortion.

The bill prohibits surgical or medical abortions from being scheduled by anyone other than a licensed physician. The bill allows an abortion to be scheduled only after the physician physically and personally meets with the pregnant mother, consults with her, and performs an assessment of her medical and personal circumstances. A physician may not schedule a surgical or medical abortion to take place less than 72 hours from the completion of the consultation except in a medical emergency. In addition, the physician may not have the pregnant mother sign a consent form on the day of the initial consultation and must be in the physical presence of the pregnant woman before taking a signed consent from her.

The bill specifies that prior to the abortion, the physician must: (1) do an assessment of the pregnant woman’s circumstance to make a reasonable determination as to whether the decision to get an abortion is the result of coercion, including obtaining the approximate age of the father of the fetus to determine if a disparity in age between the mother and father is creating an undue influence or coercion; (2) provide the pregnant woman with names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all pregnancy help centers that are registered with the Department of Health; (3) give the woman written instructions specifying that she is required to have a private consultation at a pregnancy help center prior to the day of the scheduled abortion so the pregnancy help center can inform her about education, counseling, and other assistance is available to help the pregnant woman keep her pregnancy; and (4) obtain from the pregnant woman a written statement that she obtained a consultation at a pregnancy center, including the name and address of the pregnancy help center, the date and time of the consultation, and the name of the counselor at the pregnancy help center with whom she consulted.

The bill establishes a registry of pregnancy centers in South Dakota to be published and maintained by the Department of Health. 

The bill authorizes the pregnancy help center counselor to do an assessment of the pregnant woman in order to determine whether the woman has been coerced into getting an abortion. The pregnancy help center may voluntarily provide a written statement of assessment to the abortion provider if the pregnancy help center obtains information indicating that the pregnant woman has been subject to coercion. The bill prohibits a pregnancy help center from discussing with the pregnant woman religion or religious beliefs unless the woman consents in writing. The pregnancy help center may discuss adoption options with the pregnant woman.

The bill allows a pregnant woman or her survivors to bring a civil action and obtain ten thousand dollars in damages from the physician who performed the abortion and the abortion facility where the abortion was performed.


The provision forcing pregnant people to visit a crisis pregnancy center for counseling was found unconstitutional by a federal court in 2011.