U.S. judge Karen Schreier came to the rescue yesterday only hours before South Dakota's anti-abortion law was to take effect. The law would require women seeking abortions to undergo an enforced three-day waiting period, which is the longest in the nation, to further consider the difficult decision they've made, plus attend miserable anti-abortion counseling where God-fearing crazies would tell them the evils of the procedure. And frankly, who needs that?
Her ruling only delays the law until the counter-suit from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU against the state is resolved. All parties aforementioned agree that the new law would put unconstitutional pressure on women seeking the procedure, as well as violate their rights to free speech by forcing them to discuss their choice with the anti-abortion brigade. In addition, physicians would be forced to warn the patients about possible complications that could arise from abortion (none of which are proven), as well as verify the patient had not been coerced into having the procedure, which is also fuzzy.
Judge Schreier stood firmly on feminist ground, stating the liberally obvious:
"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. The woman will feel degraded by the compulsive nature of the Pregnancy Help Center requirements, which suggest that she has made the 'wrong' decision, has not really 'thought' about her decision to undergo an abortion, or is 'not intelligent enough' to make the decision with the advice of a physician. Furthermore, these women are forced into a hostile environment."
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the bill hoping that women would use the waiting period "to make good choices," while CEO of Planned Parenthood had a little more faith in womankind, saying, "We trust women and families in South Dakota to know and do what is best for them, without being coerced by the government. And we stand with them in our efforts to overturn this outrageous law."
The South Dakota Attorney General, caught in the crossfire, is mulling over the state's options. Let's hope they go with the pro-choice tide; North Carolina Democrat Governor Bev Perdue recently vetoed a similar bill which would have required a waiting period an other restrictions on women seeking abortions. So, a little good news for now.