The South Dakota Senate gave its final approval to an extension of, what is already, the longest waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion in the country.
Right now, women seeking abortions in South Dakota must wait three days after seeking a doctor before they can have the procedure.
The bill would make it so that weekends and holidays do not count in calculating the three-day waiting period.
The bill now heads to Governor Daugaard's desk. As the state awaits his decision, KSFY hears from both sides of the debate.
Hannah Prentice, development associate with NARAL Pro-Choice of South Dakota, says HB 1237 doesn't support women.
"To think that women don't already have important decisions like this and they need additional time is demeaning. The fact that they're trying to say women can't think about this on weekends is insulting," Hannah Prentice said.
Medical Director Dr. Glenn Ridder, with the Alpha Center, stands on the other side in support of the bill saying it's merely a tweak to the already-established law.
"If you look at what Planned Parenthood does presently, the doctor is only there once a week. A woman would have to wait six or seven days before the abortion anyway. This is actually less than what Planned Parenthood is currently doing," Dr. Glenn Ridder said.
Dr. Ridder says an abortion doesn't classify as a 'medical emergency' which is why it doesn't require a full staff. Just another reason why, he says, excluding weekends is OK.
"It's wise for us doing the counseling to be fully staffed. The weekdays, we are. Weekends, it's hard to get people away from the weekends with their families. For the other side to say it's inconvenient, this is business as usual for planned parenthood," Dr. Ridder said.
While Dr. Ridder expects a final signature to make the bill a law, Prentice says a woman's choice is hers and hopes the Governor will consider that.
"This is not a government's decision, this is best left to a woman, her doctor and her family. The government needs to stay out of this decision," Prentice said.
If you stand in opposition to House Bill 1237, you're encouraged to contact the governor or your local lawmaker.
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