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SD House panel approves longer abortion wait

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm •  Published: February 15, 2013

Rep. Karen Stoli, D-Sioux Falls, a pastor, said she opposes the bill because it assumes counselors at pregnancy help centers cannot work on weekends.

"It's very unreasonable to suggest a counselor cannot be made available on a weekend or holiday when such a serious decision is being made," Stoli said.

But Brittany Weston of Yankton said the counseling requirement is important because she never would have had an abortion at age 22 if she had been able to talk to someone first. She said the father of her baby coerced her into getting an abortion, and the abortion clinic staff did not help her.

"They took something away from me I will never get back, my child and my soul," Weston said.

Tiffany Campbell, an official of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, cried as she testified against the bill, describing how she was pregnant with twin boys but had to have one aborted to save the other. She said there's no reason to make women wait three days to get an abortion, and the bill would extend that time and increase the stress on women.

"Forcing a woman who needs an abortion to delay her procedure for non-medical reasons is callous, cruel and dangerous," Campbell told lawmakers.

Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, said the bill is part of an ongoing attempt to prevent safe and legal abortions in South Dakota. She said it will lead to another lawsuit designed to test the limits of what states can do to restrict abortion.

But Hansen said the bill aims to protect women and unborn children.

"The true intent of this bill is to look to the best interest of pregnant mothers in this state to ensure that they are fully informed when they make their decision, their irrevocable decision to terminate the life of a whole, separate and unique living human being," Hansen said.

Hansen withdrew another measure that would have prevented someone from suing a doctor who failed to let them know a fetus had a physical or mental disability.


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