Which brings us to South Dakota.
Governor Dennis Daugaard passed a law on March 22 that makes women in South Dakota who are seeking abortions to go to a pregnancy help center so as to receive assistance and advice intended “to help the mother keep and care for her child.”
Things wrong with this bill:
1. Stop making it harder for women to have abortions! This is a difficult decision already, and it’s really no business of the state government what medical procedures women are undergoing as a result of decisions they’ve made themselves.
2. So now, they have to go to a pregnancy help center. They have to go to their doctor, then hike off to some clinic with fluorescent lighting and overly smiley attendants, then go back to their doctor. After three days. They clearly aren’t capable of making the decisions themselves, so they need help. Government-mandated help, to tell them all of the options, because, you know, abortion, pregnancy and adoption constitute an incredibly difficult list to memorize. And women need it told to them in simple terms.
3. Even worse, since the kind of consultation described above is present in other states as well, these pregnancy help centers must be staffed by anti-abortionists. I cannot believe this is even legal. The women have to go to centers (which have a disgustingly disingenuous title, by the way) to be talked at, excuse me, to, by pro-life ideologues whose job it is to convince these women that they’re making the wrong decision. The response from a founder of one of these centers? “What are they so afraid of?” Ms. Unruh asked. “That women might change their minds?” What this disgustingly flippant answer fails to address is concerns that women might be bullied, badgered, intimidated, shamed, guilted or psychologically harmed because unqualified anti-choicers are making them feel dirty, immoral and incapable of making autonomous medical decisions. I’m sure that worry is completely unfounded.
And it gets more ridiculous. South Dakota already has the lowest abortion rate in country except for Wyoming and Idaho, less than a third of the national rate. Doctors already have to drive in from Minnesota to perform abortions. Those doctors are heroes, by the way. But of course more restrictions are necessary. Even more than the one-day waiting period and counseling informing women that their abortion “will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being” that are already in effect.
Why? Why are the Republicans doing this? According to Roger Hunt, one of the legislators,
“There’s greater assurance that a woman considering an abortion is going to be fully informed about all the risks and about all the options. That’s not being done at the current time.”
So, basically, because they can. What nonsense. All of this anti-choice propaganda is being thrown at women all the time. They know what their options are. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood tells them everything they need to know. They’re an incredible organization.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been emphasized as it should. The NYT article says
“Each side regularly accuses the other of manipulating and coercing women.”
“They’re not licensed, they’re not regulated, they’re not accredited and they’re openly ideological…[The fact that women are] legally mandated to be coerced by people who aren’t even medical professionals — not that they should be coerced by anyone — is really beyond the pale.”
At the end of the day, this is just Republicans passing anti-woman legislation and not bothering to do anything about, you know, jobs, or anything else important. So glad half the country identifies with this party.