PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a law Tuesday requiring women to wait three days after meeting with a doctor to have an abortion, the longest waiting period in the nation.
Abortion rights groups have already said they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which also requires women to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions.
Daugaard, who gave no interviews after signing the bill, said in a written statement that he has conferred with state attorneys who will defend the law in court and a sponsor who has pledged private money to finance the state's legal costs.
"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," the Republican governor said the statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
Supporters of the measure say South Dakota's only abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, gives women little information or counseling before they have abortions done by doctors flown in from out of state. The bill would help make sure women are not being coerced into abortions, they said.
Opponents say the law forces women to go to pregnancy help centers that harass them, rather than providing sound medical advice. They also say the waiting period and the counseling are an undue burden for women who have a constitutional right to have an abortion.
The law, which takes effect July 1, says an abortion can only be scheduled by a doctor who has personally met with a woman and determined she is voluntarily seeking an abortion. The procedure can't be done until at least 72 hours after that first consultation.
Before getting an abortion, a woman also will have to consult with a pregnancy help center to get information about services available to help her give birth and keep a child. The state will publish a list of pregnancy help centers, all of which seek to persuade women to give birth.
About half the states, including South Dakota, now have 24-hour waiting periods, said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. No other state requires women to visit pregnancy crisis centers before getting abortions, she said.
The South Dakota Legislature has passed several other measures restricting abortions in the past decade.
Voters rejected statewide ballot measures in 2006 and 2008 that would have banned most abortions in the state. Those measures sought to provoke a court challenge of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
A 2005 law passed by the Legislature already requires that women be told that an abortion will end the life of a human being. That law remains tied up in a court appeal.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
A 16-year-old boy was allegedly drunk when he crashed his car into a stopped vehicle, pinning a motorist between two bumpers, police said Sunday.
San Diego and other areas of Southern California may get significant rain this week, according to the National Weather Service.
Two people were killed in head-on crash, as the driver of a stolen car sped away from deputies and veered into oncoming traffic near Pauma Valley Sunday.
A man was shot and killed by police at an officer- involved shooting in Escondido, a sheriff's lieutenant said Sunday.
A 27-year-old man suffered fatal injuries as the result of a "punching game'' inside of a bar Saturday morning in the Gaslamp
neighborhood of San Diego.
A large plume of smoke filled the sky in Miramar on Saturday morning after a concrete supply building went up in flames.
SANDAG began removing call boxes along urban highways throughout the San Diego region this month and will continue to do so through June, reflecting a decrease in call volume due to the increase in cell phone ownership.
Authorities today announced that police have arrested a suspect in connection with Friday's sexual assault on the campus of San Diego Mesa College. The name of the suspect was not immediately released.
Police Chief David Nisleit Friday strongly disavowed what he described as an unofficial, "never authorized" departmental program that rewarded officers for making narcotics arrests.