July 1, 2011

South Dakota abortion law blocked from taking effect

The Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Saying it would humiliate and degrade women, a federal judge on Thursday afternoon granted Planned Parenthood's preliminary injunction to prevent South Dakota's new abortion law from taking effect while it's being challenged in court.

The law, which would have taken effect today, requires women seeking abortions to face a three-day waiting period -- the nation's longest -- and undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortion.

The lawsuit says the law violates a woman's constitutional right to abortion established under the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In her written ruling, U.S. District Chief Judge Karen Schreier said that Planned Parenthood demonstrated that the law and its specified provisions are "likely" unconstitutional, and there's a public interest in protecting a woman's constitutional right to choose an abortion and her right to free speech.

Schreier said forcing women to attend pregnancy help centers would create an undue burden.

"Forcing a woman to divulge to a stranger at a pregnancy help center the fact that she has chosen to undergo an abortion humiliates and degrades her as a human being," she wrote. "The woman will feel degraded by the compulsive nature of the Pregnancy Help Center Requirements, which suggest that she has made the 'wrong' decision (and) has not really 'thought' about her decision ..."

 

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