South Dakota extends its already super long 72-hour waiting period before an abortion

Not content to have one of the longest mandatory waiting period laws in the country, South Dakota has now made it even worse.

South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a measure that excludes weekends and holidays from the state’s 72-hour waiting period for abortions, potentially making the wait the longest in the nation.

This means that in South Dakota–a state that has only one abortion clinic–you may be forced to wait up to six days if you try to get an abortion before a three-day weekend. The law originally would have required the patient to receive propaganda counseling at an anti-choice crisis pregnancy center too. That part was blocked by the courts, but proponents argued the extension was necessary to ensure women have time to go to a CPC during business hours.

Mandatory waiting periods are about shaming people for having abortions, plain and simple. Although anti-choicers support them because they hope women might decide against ending their pregnancy if they give it some more thought, there’s absolutely no evidence that these laws change minds. But they do make getting the procedure more emotionally and financially burdensome, according to a new study looking at the effect of Texas’ 24-hour waiting period

This is entirely unsurprising to anyone who believes abortion is a decision that people don’t just make on a whim for funsies. I’ve written before about how much it sucks to be pregnant when you don’t want to be–and needlessly extending that period is just cruel. While Texas lawmakers, for their part, are responding to the study by doing the right thing and pushing to repeal the law, South Dakota is moving in the opposite direction.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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