Unprecedented South Dakota Law Creates Major Obstacles For Women’s Health

March 2, 2011 6:12 pm

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State Legislature Approves Law That Creates Barriers To Abortion Care And Endangers Abortion Providers


CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org
ACLU of South Dakota, (605) 332-2508; southdakota@aclu.org

PIERRE, S.D.– The South Dakota legislature today passed a law that would require any woman seeking an abortion to first visit anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)” and report the name of her abortion provider to CPC staff. CPCs are unregulated facilities that are not required to have trained medical personnel counsel women, and are primarily run by private groups that seek to discourage women from having abortions, often by promoting false information. CPCs are also not required to follow standard medical privacy procedures that ensure a patient’s medical information is kept confidential. The bill would also require abortion providers to discuss the entire body of research literature related to possible health risks with their patients, even though much of this information may be outdated, irrelevant, false or misleading. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of South Dakota strongly denounced the law.

The following can be attributed to Robert Doody, ACLU of South Dakota Chapter Director:

“The South Dakota legislature should be ashamed of this demeaning and destructive law. It is bad enough that this law inserts a government mandate into a woman’s private medical decision by forcing her to first visit a facility with a blatant agenda. To further require that the woman report the name of her abortion provider to these groups places those who provide badly needed medical services to women in harm’s way.”

The following can be attributed to Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project:

“This is one of the most shocking laws in a disturbing national trend of attempting to deny basic medical services and humiliate women who seek abortion care. The government has no business intruding on a woman’s private and personal health care decisions. The unprecedented and unjust assault on access to abortion care at the federal and state level must stop, and the rights, privacy and safety of women and their medical providers must be protected.”

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