October 16, 2014 — In a Los Angeles Times profile, physician Carol Ball -- medical director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota -- discusses the difficulties she faces in providing abortion care at South Dakota's lone abortion clinic amid increasing restrictions on the procedure in the state and across the U.S.
According to the Times, the Planned Parenthood facility in South Dakota has been unable to find in-state physicians to perform abortions, likely because of several antiabortion-rights measures that have been passed by the state legislature. The Times notes that PPMNDSD has sued state officials to block some of the measures and that the clinic has considered closing if the disputed requirements are enforceable.
Ball is one of six physicians who fly into South Dakota to work at the Planned Parenthood facility several times per month, sometimes making multiple visits per week. She also provides abortions at two clinics outside the state.
Ball said that because of the state's 72-hour mandatory delay on the procedure, many of her patients have to travel four or five hours each way to the clinic twice, in some cases accounting for more than 20 hours of travel. Ball also noted that she is required to ensure her patients are not being coerced into having an abortion and to tell them information about abortion that she considers to be "pseudo-science of the anti-choice people."
Ball said that abortion "is basic healthcare for women," adding, "One in three women have an abortion in their lifetime. How much more basic is that?" Still, she noted that recent Supreme Court decisions, like one striking down a "buffer zone" around abortion clinics in Massachusetts, make her "fee[l] very discouraged" about the future of abortion care (La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, 10/14).