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Appeal against 3-day wait for SD abortion dropped
Friday - 12/21/2012, 4:35pm EST
By KRISTI EATON
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Planned Parenthood filed notice Friday that it is dropping its appeal of a legal provision that requires women seeking abortions in South Dakota to wait three days.
A law passed in 2011 required women in South Dakota to wait 72 hours before they are allowed to end a pregnancy _ the longest waiting period in the country _ but the provision had been temporarily blocked until the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood made its way through court.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota said Friday that it was dropping the appeal of the 72-hour wait but will continue to fight another provision that requires women to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers, which discourage abortions, before they can terminate a pregnancy. The group filed a motion to dismiss that part of the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning they may decide to challenge it in the future.
A judge must still sign off on the dismissal.
"This was not an easy decision for us to make by any means. We believe that this law is wrong and that it is disrespectful to women and it is completely unnecessary and for a host of reasons is ill-conceived," said Sarah Stoesz, the president of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Stoesz said Planned Parenthood, which operates South Dakota's only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, did not feel confident that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals would have sided with them on the provision, saying the court has "ruled against women's interests time after time."
Instead, she said the group will continue to focus on fighting the counseling provision.
"This is something that is just shocking in its lack of ethical basis and we will be fighting very, very hard to make sure that piece of the law is never enacted while regretfully enacting the 72-hour portion of the law," she said.
A spokeswoman for the South Dakota Attorney General's Office said the motion is being reviewed and couldn't comment further. A lawyer for the Alpha Center, a Sioux Falls pregnancy help center involved in the case, said he could not comment.
In June, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier ruled that a third provision of the law could go into effect starting July 1. That provision requires doctors who perform abortions to first assess women to determine if they have been coerced into getting abortions or are at risk of suffering psychological problems if they undergo the procedure.
Follow Kristi Eaton on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kristieaton.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)