Fetus fetishists have have pulled off a brilliant ploy in South Dakota.
While abortion providers and patients have kept on keeping on in the face of ever-tightening restrictions---demonstrating the power of the demand for this service---South Dakota may have just managed to ban abortion without actually banning abortion outright. . . .
How did South Dakota do it? The new law requires women seeking abortion to speak to the doctor, then wait 72 hours, then get counseled at an anti-choice propaganda station called a “crisis pregnancy center,” only after which would she be allowed to obtain an abortion. This law received quite a bit of attention for overt misogyny inherent in the implication that women are too stupid to be aware of what they’re asking for when they seek abortion, or that women are so ignorant and incurious that they can’t be expected to have considered anti-choice arguments unless forced. But it’s looking like this law may do more than that, and may actually make abortion impossible to get in South Dakota.
This works in two ways. Right away, it was clear that the 72-hour waiting period was an attempt to force the sole abortion provider in the state, a Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, to drop the service. The doctor that performs abortions flies in to provide the service, and this requirement is obviously intended to push out any doctor who doesn’t work full time at the clinic by making the travel requirements onerous.
The “counseling” requirement seemed more condescending than truly burdensome at first, though it is true that many women seeking abortion really don’t have the flexible schedule to work in a few hours to be hectored by anti-choicers before obtaining their abortion, which pushes this requirement from being irritating and sexist to being truly an obstacle. But recent news indicates that something more devious is likely going on. As Robin Marty reported last week, not a single crisis pregnancy center has agreed to counsel patients seeking abortion so that those patients can fill their requirements to get their abortions. Not even the centers that lobbied to get the requirement pushed through. Without centers willing to say they saw the patients seeking abortion, patients could be caught in a red tape nightmare that makes getting abortions impossible.
I mean, really, you gotta admire the chutzpah. Lobby to force women to submit to a session of lies, manipulation, and guilt-tripping, then refuse to do it.
The Alpha Center, which lobbied for passage of the new law, also is undecided about whether it will register with the state.
Leslee Unruh, president and co-founder of the Sioux Falls nonprofit agency that counsels women against abortion, said the decision to register will be up to the board of directors, who meet this month.
"They haven't met yet, and those are big decisions," she said. "Maybe, maybe not. I'm not sure."
Congratulations, South Dakota, you've outdone South Carolina, where fake clinics are also used to harass women seeking abortions.