Planned Parenthood sues South Dakota over abortion law

Reuters News
Posted: May 27, 2011 12:14 PM
Planned Parenthood sues South Dakota over abortion law

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) - Planned Parenthood sued South Dakota on Friday over a law that imposes a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

The law also requires women to get counseling from what Planned Parenthood calls an "anti-abortion" crisis pregnancy center. Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services, including abortions.

"This law goes farther than any others in the country in intruding on the doctor-patient relationship, and putting women and families at risk," said Sarah Stoesz, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. The federal suit calls the law unconstitutional.

The South Dakota law is part of a wave of anti-abortion laws being passed in states with majority conservative legislatures as a result of the 2010 elections. Republican legislators tend to favor abortion restrictions.

Another law being challenged in court is an Indiana measure which cuts federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Indiana claims the law, the first of its kind in the country, puts Indiana at risk of losing its funding from the federal government for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

The three-day waiting period would be the longest in the country, according to Planned Parenthood. The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

A spokesperson for the South Dakota attorney general's office was not immediately available for comment. Daugaard spokesman Joe Kafka has said the restriction requires women to put "a little more thought and a little additional time" into the abortion decision.

South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country, and abortions in the state represent 0.1 percent of all U.S. abortions, according to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, a pro-choice group.

(Reporting and writing by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Ann Nachtigal; Editing by Greg McCune)