April 8, 2011


South Dakota’s new abortion law is worth emulating

A state that is famous for its mammoth sculptures of four former presidents carved into a mountainside is making news for a different reason these days.

And those of us who support pro-life initiatives are happy to see the Mount Rushmore State take the lead in that regard.

As reported in the April 1 issue of The Criterion, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a law on March 22 establishing a three-day waiting period for all abortions—a time frame that exceeds other state laws that require 24-hour waiting periods.

We applaud the governor and South Dakota legislators for adopting the measure, which also helps women find abortion alternatives.

We were also heartened to see the Indiana House pass House Bill 1210 on March 30. Authored by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, the bill would make most abortions illegal after 20 weeks. Current law restricts most abortions after the fetus is considered viable, generally about 24 weeks.

Among its other provisions, the House bill would require abortion providers to tell patients that abortion carries risks, including the possibility of breast cancer. The fact that a similar measure has passed the Indiana Senate means it is likely some version of the legislation will reach Gov. Mitch Daniels’ desk this session.

In today’s ever-expanding “me-first” society, it is an answer to prayer and gives us hope to see lawmakers putting the life of an unborn child at the heart of legislation.

“I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,” Daugaard, a Republican, said in a statement. “I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.”

Daugaard said weeks ago that he supports life issues, and would likely sign the bill into law.

“I am pro-life,” Daugaard told the Rapid City Journal. “I’ve read the bill and I’m inclined to sign it, but I want to examine it along with the counsel of others to make sure there’s no unintended consequences that haven’t been identified during the debate.”

The South Dakota law, which takes effect on July 1, requires women considering an abortion to visit a crisis pregnancy center before going to an abortion facility to get counseling on abortion’s alternatives as well as the risks associated with having the procedure.

The idea behind the bill is to get women tangible pregnancy help and support that they won’t normally find at an abortion facility. The counseling would not require any out-of-pocket expense on behalf of the women considering an abortion.

In a statement supporting the measure before the final vote and the governor’s signature, the Diocese of Sioux Falls said it would help ensure that “mothers are as fully aware as possible of the implications and ramifications of the grave decision to terminate the most sacred gift of life.”

Opponents of the new law immediately announced plans to challenge it, but the governor said that he has talked with state attorneys who are willing to defend the law. He also said there is a private donor who has agreed to finance the state’s costs for defending the law.

According to www.LifeNews.com, about half of the states across the country have a waiting period that is typically 24 hours in length. No other state requires women to visit a pregnancy center beforehand, but some states give women information about such centers, which provide tangible help for pregnant women.

Still, until the new law was passed in South Dakota, it was obvious that the abortion provider had the upper hand.

Rep. Roger Hunt, a South Dakota Republican who sponsored the bill, said he has been contacted by many women who made it clear that they did not get adequate information or counseling about abortion before getting their abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility in Sioux Falls, the state’s only abortion center.

Women told him of how they were pressured into getting abortions at the Planned Parenthood facility.

Brittany Weston of Yankton, who testified before a South Dakota legislative panel, became pregnant at age 22, but the father of her child insisted that she have an abortion because he did not want to pay child support to help raise the baby.

Before the abortion, Weston only spoke with staff at Planned Parenthood. She said she wanted the abortion clinic to provide her with help on how to deal with the situation. Instead, they performed an abortion and took the life of her unborn child.

“If this bill you’re discussing today was law at that time, I would have my child right now and he would be about 5 years old,” Weston told the legislators. “They took something from me I’ll never get back—my child and my soul.”

No matter where you stand concerning life issues, that chilling testimony should cause all of us to pause and reflect about abortion and its consequences.

We wholeheartedly support this new law, and pray that other states muster the courage to follow suit.

We must never waver in standing up for all life—born and unborn.

Millions of defenseless unborn babies—and their mothers experiencing crisis prenancies—are depending on us.

—Mike Krokos

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