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HB 1237 Takes Away Women’s Opportunity; PHCs Can Already Delay Abortion Indefinitely

Last updated on 2014.06.01

Happy Valentine's Day, ladies: just as I warned, out-of-state activist Harold Cassidy is back, sticking his nose in South Dakota women's business. But since he's working for the "family-values" wing of the GOP to continue their treatment of women as property and nincompoops, he gets a free pass from the powers that be to meddle in our politics.

David Montgomery gets Cassidy's take on House Bill 1237, Rep. Jon Hansen's mean-spirited effort to make South Dakota's 72-waiting period for abortions even longer:

Harold Cassidy, a lawyer representing two crisis pregnancy centers who are defending the 2011 abortion law in court, said HB1237 is not about giving the woman time to reflect on her own — which she could do on a weekend or holiday — but to seek out counseling, which might be closed then.

“One of the other purposes (of the bill) is to provide the woman with the opportunity to seek out counseling from other persons or individuals within the pregnant mother’s natural support system, such as the woman’s regular care physician, who’s never going to be open on a Saturday or a Sunday, or such as a clergy member,” Cassidy said [David Montgomery, "S.D. Legislature: Abortion Waiting Period May Get Longer," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.02.14].

Provide women with an opportunity... that phrase ought to set off your B.S. meters. HB 1237 takes away opportunities for women to seek medical care at the times that work for them, their families, and their employers. Women already have the opportunity to seek such counseling from the people in their lives. If they want to go see their regular doctors, they will. If they want more time to talk to family, friends, and clergy, they'll take that time. They don't need Harold Cassidy or Jon Hansen to legislate that time for them.

Cassidy claims that by offering abortion consultations on Fridays so women can get their state-mandated "counseling" on the weekend and schedule their abortions for Mondays, Planned Parenthood is trying to "frustrate the woman’s efforts to require the counseling that she needs and that’s required."

But that's also baloney. Read the law establishing the 72-hour waiting period that Rep. Hansen is trying to extend by not counting weekends and holidays. SDCL 34-23A-56 says that a woman seeking an abortion in South Dakota "must have a consultation at a pregnancy help center." I don't see in that statute or any of the associated statutes passed in 2011 with the 72-hour waiting period an exception that says a woman can skip the PHC propaganda session. No PHC consultation, no abortion.

Even if a woman comes to Planned Parenthood Friday for a consultation, can't get into a PHC over the weekend, then lies on the written statement she has to provide to the doctor saying, "Yup, I visited a PHC to be harangued over exercising my constitutional right to bodily autonomy," the doctor can't perform the abortion without facing the possibility of a $10,000 civil penalty.

And since the existing abortion-harassment statute specifically exempts pregnancy health centers from "any duties or liability," Leslee Unruh and South Dakota's other anti-abortion propagandists already hold the fate of women seeking abortions in their hands. If the PHCs don't want to be open on Saturday and Sunday, they don't have to be. The PHCs already have the practical authority, unchecked by state law, to extend a woman's waiting period for a legal abortion indefinitely.

The PHCs don't need HB 1237. Its supporters can achieve their nasty goals entirely under existing statute. Real conservatives should read that line and vote an easy Nay. But real conservatives should also keep government out of women's vaginas.

The pious pro-life preening begins in front of House Judiciary tomorrow morning (Friday, Feb. 15), 10:00 a.m. CST.


  1. larry kurtz 2013.02.15

    SD leg. currently debating whether it can abridge or end women's rights:

    Hansen says 72 hours is not unreasonable "when considering the irrevocable implications of this decision." RT @ArgusMontgomery

  2. larry kurtz 2013.02.15

    Roger Hunt believes 72 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait before he receives a brain transplant.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.15

    So much stupidity, contradiction, and insecure misogyny in that hearing, I don't know where to begin.

  4. shelly 2013.02.15

    Jon hansen needs to mind his own business. His misogynistic proposal INFURIATES me. If he is against abortion, he and his wife Sheila shouldn't seek one. That is their choice. Leave other women to decide what is best for themselves. But out, Jon!

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.16

    Jon appears to be so insecure with his manhood that he has to use his government power to boss around all South Dakota women and brand them all too stupid to make their own decisions.

  6. Shari Kosel 2013.02.16

    Using an outside agency to better your cause? Criminal!

    If we were talking about a mans testicles, the Capitol would be on fire. Wake up women! This isn't about abortion, it's about losing your rights.

    Oh, wait, I need to ask my husband permission to comment...

  7. larry kurtz 2013.02.16

    Curious whether these bills are really about unintended consequences.

    South Dakota women who can afford it and wish to terminate their pregnancies merely fly to Omaha, Mpls. or Denver while poor women are forced to be shamed by their state since they can't afford to go elsewhere then many of the resultant children become Medicaid clients.


  8. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.16

    I'm going to say this just one more time

    As a man I have no dog in the fight, I don’t have a uterus, and I wont ever be put into a position of having to face the possibility of needing an abortion. But after some long thought I have decided that to not post would be the same as saying that I agree with the legislation in HB 1237.

    Now I wont pretend that I know what goes through a woman’s mind when she decides that she needs an abortion. As a man I can only guess but wont ever actually know. But I do have a wife and a daughter and I do know how they feel about the subject. They have told me that it is almost impossible to describe how they feel in their own words let alone put those words into print so that everyone else can understand. Having said that I’m still going to try to tell you how I think they feel about what is happening in the legislature.

    Now lets talk about how a woman must feel.

    First lets get something out of the way. It doesn’t matter if you want to call it a piece of tissue, or even a baby, it makes no difference. Possession is nine tenths of the law and in the case of pregnancy it is now and has always been one hundred percent. One way or another the woman is the one that will have to deal with whatever she decides to do, no one else, not Roger Hunt, and not any of the co signers of the bill. In fact after they pass the bill they will in all probability just set back and do nothing to help in any way if a baby is actually born.

    Roger Hunt is guilty of “mind rape”. He is just as guilty as a man that has been caught in a woman’s bedroom with his pants off and the woman beat up and tied to the bed with his dna all over the place. Several terms come to mind here.

    A condition of compulsory service performed by one person, against his will, for the benefit of another person due to force, threats, intimidation or other similar means of coercion and compulsion directed against him.
    Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1584, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to willfully hold another person in involuntary servitude. It must be shown that a person held to involuntary servitude was so held for a ‘term.’ It is not necessary, however, that any specific period of time be proved so long as the ‘term’ of the involuntary service was not wholly insubstantial or insignificant.

    Now I ask this. Are we willing to do away with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution? Its not just about owning slaves , its about people being able to make life changing decisions about their bodies without interference from someone else. Its called the right of self determination.

    Placing roadblocks that a woman has to stop at, and hoops that she has to jump through between her and her doctor is “mind rape” there is no other way to describe it. Roger Hunt is guilty of it, all the cosigners are guilty of conspiracy to commit mind rape as are those that would vote for this bill in the legislature.

    That’s how I think women feel about this. There really isn’t anything a man has to compare with this except being a slave, nothing.

    If you were the one getting to make up the rules knowing full well that those rules would never effect you or your body "most of the people in our South Dakota legislature fit that label" you are fine with the rules you have put in place. On the other hand if you were a young woman already traumatized by the situation you find yourself in those rules might just seem insurmountable at the time.

    This procedure is something that most women want to keep private. Adding more layers and time seems to take most of the privacy away from them at a time they desire it most.

    Here’s an analogy for you. Lets suppose that you had something wrong that caused you to have to go to the doctor. When you walked into his office there was the doctor and three or four good old boys sitting there. While you were being examined these good old boys were making suggestions as to why this happened to you and how you should go about fixing it. Then the next day you were down town and everybody you met knew what had happened in the doctors office. How would that make you feel?

    One more thought and then I’m through. What do radical Islam and Roger Hunt, Harold Cassidy, Rep. Jon Hansen, and Leslee "I have had an abortion myself but I want to tell other women what they can do with their own bodies" Unruh have in common? They both seem to want to own and or control a woman’s body.

    Trans penal devices all around except for Leslee, she needs serious philological help, she already has money from the federal government. Maybe she just needs to get laid.

    Invasion of privacy is just a term until it involves you.

    The Blindman

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