Federal Court Blocks South Dakota Law Restricting Access to Abortion

ACLU and Planned Parenthood Win Victory in Effort to Block Unconstitutional Policy SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a decisive victory for South Dakota women and families, a federal court today blocked a state law from going into effect that would have gone further than any in the country in restricting access to abortion and intruding on women’s personal medical decisions. As written, the law would have required a woman who is seeking an abortion to wait at least 72 hours after first meeting with her doctor, the longest and most extreme mandatory delay in the country. In the interim, the woman would be required to seek “counseling” at a so-called “pregnancy help center” whose mandate is to dissuade her from her decision to seek an abortion. The law was to have taken effect July 1. “This law represents a blatant intrusion by politicians into difficult decisions women and families sometimes need to make,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “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.” In granting temporary relief from the law, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Karen Schreier found that the ACLU and Planned Parenthood are likely to prevail in their challenge to each of the requirements of the law, including the 72-hour mandatory delay and the “pregnancy help center” requirement.