SIOUX FALLS, SD (CN) – A federal judge has temporarily halted a new state abortion law while its constitutionality is determined in court.
The new law would create a three-day waiting period between the initial visit to an abortion provider and actual procedure and would require women seeking an abortion to seek counseling at pregnancy help centers, which are against abortion. The law has an exception for medical emergencies, but not for cases of rape or incest. The three-day waiting period would be the longest in the nation.
In issuing a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier found that parts of the law are likely unconstitutional, especially those involving the pregnancy help centers.
“Forcing a woman to divulge to a stranger at a pregnancy help center the fact that she has chosen to undergo an abortion humiliates and degrades her as a human being,” Schreier wrote. “The woman will feel degraded by the compulsive nature of the Pregnancy Help Center Requirements, which suggest that she has made the ‘wrong’ decision, has not really ‘thought’ about her decision to undergo an abortion, or is ‘not intelligent enough’ to make the decision with the advice of a physician.”
Schreier let stand a portion of the law allowing the pregnancy help centers to register with the state, but temporarily halted any parts requiring women seeking abortions to consult with those centers.
Schreier issued her opinion on June 30, one day before the new law was to take effect.