South Dakota might well become “ground zero” in the abortion battle, again.

There’s a law (HB1217) under consideration that would require a 72-hour waiting period for a woman to have an abortion, and it mandates that she be well informed about what she is about to undergo. One aspect of the law — bound to be a bone of contention — is that she be given some information from the pro-life pregnancy centers.

If the law goes into effect, Planned Parenthood plans to sue.

This battle over abortion in South Dakota didn’t happen overnight.

In 2006 and 2008, that state passed laws (among the strictest in the country) against abortion. Neither law went into effect.

However, pro-life forces are trying again to make sure that before a woman has an abortion in South Dakota (from the visiting abortionist, since they can’t seem to retain a permanent one), she will at least be informed of potential risks.

When all this started, the legislature of South Dakota set up a task force to learn about the impact of abortion since 1973, including potential side effects.

This was a bipartisan committee of 17, including pro-life people and self-identified “pro-choicers.”

The South Dakota researchers had 58 experts, pro and con, testify. They compiled mounds of data, including more than 3,500 pages of research. They squeezed it all into a summary of 72 pages.

One of the single most important findings was that any semblance of “informed consent” was a joke.

Dr. Allen and Leslee Unruh of South Dakota are the state’s leaders in the battle against abortion. They found that very little information actually goes to the women before they get an abortion.

He said, “The ‘informed consent’ that they receive is a four-minute cassette, a message by an abortionist on tape.” The tape, which Dr. Unruh describes as a sales promotion, falsely claims that the chances of dying from having a baby are 700 percent higher than if you abort. “And they tell women there are no side effects emotionally. The only emotion you will experience is relief.”

Obviously, not everyone experiences emotional fall-out from abortion — but many do, including many who thought they would only experience relief. They have found anything but.

Recently, state senator Angie Buhl stated, “I think that, as a legislative body, we should have a vested interest in making sure women get accurate information before they go through any medical procedure.”

The South Dakota task force found that the majority of the women who have abortions do so because of pressure put on them by loved ones. The “choice” is essentially not a choice for them.

Just last month, a woman, a mother of four, testified before the South Dakota legislature about how her husband had put a gun to her head and threatened to divorce her if she didn’t have an abortion.

Leslee Unruh writes, “He threatened her life and stood right behind her when she filled out the consent form at the abortion clinic. When the abortionist started, she screamed to stop — she had changed her mind, but the abortionist said, ‘It’s too late.'” To make matters worse, he had botched the abortion leaving with her with “major complications, requiring multiple surgeries after.”

To top it all off, her husband left her anyway.

One of those who support the new law is Dr. Patti Giebink, MD, former abortion provider at Planned Parenthood, Sioux Falls 1995 to 1997. She is a board certified OB/GYN and a former National Abortion Federation member. She said in a letter to the editor (submitted to Argus Leader, March 14, 2011):

HB1217 would be unnecessary if Planned Parenthood in SF [Sioux Falls] would provide true “informed consent” (accurate and complete information of the risks and complications of abortion) and protect women from being forced into a procedure some women don’t want. After years of trying to “encourage” them to do this, their recent forms are a mockery of the process. It is obvious that the only way to make sure women get “accurate information” is for the information to come from outside Planned Parenthood.

Hence, South Dakota’s new law would strive to get women, even if they choose to abort, to at least be made aware of potential risks. In a country that values Consumer Reports, that would seem to be a no-brainer to me.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he is inclined to sign the law, but he is concerned about the potential ramifications should there be a lawsuit against the bill.

Dr. Allen Unruh has been busy building up a war-chest of private donations from around the country to help protect the law, so that the taxpayers of South Dakota need not foot the bill.

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Categories: 2011 Columns

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