South Dakota’s odious new anti-abortion law

SOUTH DAKOTA’S ODIOUS NEW ANTI-ABORTION LAW…. The party that made widespread gains in 2010 thanks to a weak economy knows it exactly how it wants to spend 2011 — by investing an inordinate amount of energy in restricting women’s reproductive rights.

One of the more outrageous displays at the state level was signed into law yesterday.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a law Tuesday requiring women to wait three days after meeting with a doctor to have an abortion, the longest waiting period in the nation.

Abortion rights groups immediately said they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which also requires women to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions.

Daugaard, who gave no interviews after signing the bill, said in a written statement that he has conferred with state attorneys who will defend the law in court and a sponsor who has pledged private money to finance the state’s legal costs.

Small-government conservatives — the ones who want less interference from government in Americans’ health care decisions — were delighted.

The three-day waiting period is absurd on its own. The idea is that public officials will force women to think for 72 hours before exercising their reproductive rights, as if women hadn’t already thought about what’s best beforehand.

But that’s really only part of the new South Dakota policy. During the government-imposed waiting period, the state will also require women to seek counseling at “crisis pregnancy centers,” or CPCs.

In case you’re unfamiliar with these outlets, CPCs “often lack licensed medical personnel, and are designed solely to ‘encourage’ a woman to carry to term and keep her child. The federal government has documented that CPCs often provide women false and misleading information in order to achieve their goals.”

And now South Dakota women will be forced by the state to go for CPC “counseling,” whether they want to or not.

Twice in recent years — in 2006 and again in 2008 — South Dakota voters were given the chance to vote on severe new restrictions on abortion rights. In both instances, voters in this conservative “red” state rejected the efforts.

But the crusade continues apace. I’ll let you know what happens with the court challenge.