South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard must really think women are idiots. There's no other way to explain the statement he made after signing an anti-abortion law Tuesday that would require a woman seeking an abortion to wait three days and to visit an anti-abortion counseling center:
I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives ... I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.
"Make good choices," eh? This sort of patronizing statement (by a man, nonetheless) assumes that women considering an abortion haven't already spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about their choices. It reeks of condescension -- suggesting that women mindlessly decide to get an abortion just like they would, say, a manicure or an eyebrow wax!
And if you think his statement is infuriating, just wait until you hear more about the bill itself ...
While many states have a 24-hour waiting period, South Dakota will now have a 72-hour waiting period -- the longest in the country. In other words, women will have to wait three days to exercise their right to something that is legal. Keep in mind that South Dakota is one of the most rural states in the nation, meaning that women who need to travel long distances to the state's only abortion clinic will need to put themselves up in a hotel. Many women can't afford the hotel let alone taking three days off from work. The bill is definitely trying to prevent abortions forcibly -- not in any way that could be considered a "choice."
The second part of the bill is just as exasperating: During this 72-hour waiting period, women are required to visit a pregnancy crisis center (as well as two visits to a physician and a screening for risk factors). Now, we all know what goes on at "pregnancy crisis centers" -- and the dissemination of accurate, fact-based information about women's options by licensed, trained counselors is not on the list.
Abortion rights supporters -- like Planned Parenthood and American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota -- are filing a lawsuit to challenge the measure. Here's why they maintain that the law is unconstitutional:
... the law would intrude on women's right to make personal decisions about medical treatment and require women seeking abortions to receive counseling from unlicensed and unaccredited pregnancy centers that are often religiously motivated.
Hopefully, they will be successful in getting a judge to strike the legislation down. In the meantime, let's have a conservation about what it's like to be governed by people that think we are morons.
What do you think of South Dakota's abortion bill?
Image via SMN/Flickr