Rebecca Millette


Planned Parenthood vows to sue South Dakota over abortion bill

Rebecca Millette

PIERRE, South Dakota, March 11, 2011 ( – Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota has announced that it will sue the state of South Dakota should the abortion law passed by the Legislature last week be signed into law. 

“Our legal team has determined that this bill is such an egregious violation of the Constitution that we will file suit if the governor signs it,” said Planned Parenthood media relations director Kathi Di Nicola.

House Bill 1217 requires that women seeking an abortion wait 72 hours after the initial consultation before the procedure, as well as have a one-on-one session with a counsellor at a pregnancy help center.

Last week the State Senate approved the bill in a 21-13 vote.  It has been passed on to Governor Dennis Daugaard to sign into law.  Daugaard, who is against abortion, has indicated support for the bill and has until March 24 to make his decision.

Tony Venhuizen, policy and communications director for Governor Daugaard, said the governor’s decision will not be affected by Planned Parenthood’s announcement.  Legal action against the bill was expected all along.

“The cost of litigation is something he’s considering, but the fact that a suit is pending won’t change things - we’ve always assumed that there would be,” Venhuizen told the Argus Leader.

Planned Parenthood has been buoyed by a similar legal challenge in Nebraska recently in which U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled in the abortion giant’s favor and directed the state to pay it over $130,000.

When asked whether he was concerned over the South Dakota bill being unconstitutional, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said: “I have the responsibility and opportunity to advise the legislature on an attorney-client basis on matters before them. And then they as policy makers make determinations and my job is back at defending their actions against any constitutional challenges.”

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