signal boost: Maddow on South Dakota’s Anti-Choice Crisis

Rachel Maddow’s Monday show had a segment on South Dakota’s new anti-choice laws and proposals that have explicitly made it near impossible for women to exercise their own rights to their own bodies. I highly recommend watching the entire segment here (the show’s transcript here – search for part that says “In South Dakota…”).

She did a great job of highlighting the worst parts of the laws against choice here. All emphasis made here is mine:

In South Dakota, there‘s only one abortion provider, operating in one corner of the state.  And there‘s not a doctor working there every day.  Typically, it‘s just once a week.  So, once a week, a woman can go to this one place, to this one Planned Parenthood clinic, in this one part of the state, to get their women off and drive seven or eight hours one way to get there.

When a woman arrives, if she wants access to this supposedly constitutionally protected right, first, she has to sit through an anti-abortion lecture written by the state legislature.  She is required by South Dakota law when she arrives at this clinic to be given a lecture that is designed to talk her out of her decision.  The lecture will include her being shown a booklet on fetal development and shown information on a state Web site that directs her to so-called crisis pregnancy centers that are also going to try to talk her out of getting an abortion.

Then, after the state-mandated politician scripted lecture, she has to wait 24 hours before the procedure can actually be provided…Once the 24-hour waiting period is up, the doctor is required to offer the woman a medically unnecessary sonogram and to record her response to that offer in her medical records.  Then, it‘s time for another state-mandated lecture written by politicians.

The doctor is required by South Dakota law to read her an anti-abortion script that includes a laundry list of medically dubious or scientifically disputed claims about the health risks of abortion, at least one of which has essentially been suspended pending the outcome of a lawsuit.  Then, after that, she is required to sit and wait after that lecture for two more hours.  Only after that can a woman in South Dakota have access to abortion services.

That‘s the law in South Dakota right now…And, remember, that doctor‘s only there once a week.  So, time it out wisely.

Maddow went on to give information on the new laws signed in by the governor in March:

However, on March 22nd, South Dakota‘s Republican governor, Dennis Daugaard, signed into law what is probably the most creatively draconian anti-abortion law in the country.  Under this new law, there is a new three-day waiting period between when the woman first meets with the doctor and when she can get an abortion.


The new law doesn‘t just extend the waiting period to three days.  It tells women what they have to do with that time.  Get this, under the new law, during the time in between the first state-mandated scripted lecture and the second state-mandated scripted lecture and putting her decision whether or not to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound in her permanent medical records, during the new 72-hour waiting period between all of those obstacles, a woman seeking an abortion will be forced by the state to visit a so-called crisis pregnancy center, where she will be lectured at by anti-abortion activists about why she should not be having an abortion.

Crisis pregnancy centers are not health centers.  They are not counseling centers.  They‘re not medical in any way.  They‘re, generally speaking, anti-abortion organizations run by anti-abortion activists whose mission is to stop people from having abortions.


South Dakota‘s attorney general refusing to clarify to the “Argus Leader” whether abortions would be prohibited if no pregnancy center registers with the state, saying, quote, “We plan on addressing only the issues that arise and become an actually controversy.”

I would very much like to see what counts as an actual controversy in South Dakota these days.


One Response to signal boost: Maddow on South Dakota’s Anti-Choice Crisis

  1. Pingback: April Showers Bring Anti-Abortion Laws! « Beneath the Tin Foil Hat

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