Anti-Choice South Dakota Bill Stalls in Senate

by Cara on February 10, 2009

in abortion, anti-choice extremism, legislation, misogyny, patriarchy, politics, reproductive justice, women’s health

The insidious proposed South Dakota bill that would force doctors to be available to talk with patients for a full two hours on the day before an abortion procedure is performed (even if the patient does not show up to the meeting), has thankfully stalled in the Senate.

A bill to require a doctor to be on site the day before performing an abortion in South Dakota deadlocked on a 3-3 vote Monday while reviving a debate over state control of medical procedures.

Senate Bill 92, due for another vote Wednesday, would help women needing consultation, its supporters say, but is a measure that opponents say would create an undue hindrance to legal abortion.

This article also gives us information that is good news for my researching skills but bad news over all, confirming my assertions about the ridiculous burden that the bill would place on abortion providers who do indeed fly in from out of state.  The even worse news is that we have this information because a legislative task force uncovered it — and it’s information that’s actually being used by proponents to support passage of the bill.  These folks never fail to boggle my mind.

As quoted above, they committee is due for another vote tomorrow.  One Senator was absent from the vote, the vote therefore tied, and a majority vote is needed to take action on a piece of legislation.

The articles don’t state which Senator was absent, but thankfully the state legislature’s website is a lot more informative.  I was initially quite pessimistic — after all, what are the chances of four pro-choice (enough) senators being on a seven senator committee in South Dakota — but what I’ve uncovered actually seems really positive.

The minutes from yesterday say that the senator absent from the committee vote was Pam Merchant.  She does not have a website or seem to have publicly taken a stance on this proposed bill.  However, a survey that she filled out in 2008 has her stating that abortions should always be legal, and though she does support parental notification laws (ugh), she does not support mandatory waiting periods.  And all three of those who voted for the bill marked that they think abortions should always be illegal the last time that they took the same survey.

In other words?  No promises, of course, but I think that if all legislative members manage to show up for this vote, the bill is going down.  Fingers crossed, and stay tuned.

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