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S.D. House Passes Bill To Modify Abortion Counseling Law

S.D. House Passes Bill To Modify Abortion Counseling Law

February 15, 2012 — The South Dakota House on Monday approved a bill (HB 1254) that would alter a 2011 law that mandates counseling at a crisis pregnancy center and a 72-hour waiting period before abortion care, the AP/Mitchell Daily Republic reports. Planned Parenthood has challenged the law in court, arguing that it places an unconstitutional burden on a women's right to obtain an abortion.

The bill would not alter the law's main requirements, but it would require that the CPC sessions involve counselors licensed in their field. The counseling requirement is supposed to help determine if a woman has been coerced into seeking an abortion.

The bill states that certain factors -- including coercion, religious conflicts, age and prior mental health issues -- could cause a woman to develop mental problems if she has an abortion. The measure would require a physician to discuss the risk factors with the women and determine if she would be at risk for developing mental health problems if she obtained an abortion. In addition, the bill clarifies that in most cases, the same physician who conducts the initial interview with the woman is supposed to perform the abortion procedure (Brokaw, AP/Mitchell Daily Republic, 2/14).

Bill Would Limit Health Insurance Coverage of Abortion

On Tuesday, the House voted 55-15 to approve a bill (HB 1185) that would prohibit health plans from offering abortion coverage in the state's health insurance exchange, the Rapid City Journal reports.

The federal health reform law (PL 111-148) requires that each state have an exchange where individuals and small businesses can purchase affordable health insurance plans. The law also permits states to ban health insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in the exchanges. The bill now moves to the Senate (Montgomery, Rapid City Journal, 2/14).