Was Anyone Really Surprised?

Was anyone really surprised at yesterday’s ruling by U.S. Judge Karen Schreier?

Abortion law denied

Federal judge halts state’s mandatory counseling legislation

I think everyone knew this law was going to be challenged in federal court when it sat on the Governor’s desk. I am surprised that Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups let the ink dry before filing a lawsuit.

It does seems odd that an injunction was granted only seven hours before taking effect. The only other interesting part to this story is:

The Alpha Center plans to offer its legal assistance to earn a similar result in the current lawsuit, Unruh said, at no cost to taxpayers.

“We have our own lawyers,” she said.

The center will need to file a motion asking to intervene on the state’s behalf, a move Planned Parenthood’s lawyer, Mimi Liu, said will meet resistance.

“We feel they have no place in this lawsuit,” Liu said. “We will oppose any effort from these fringe groups to … use this as a soapbox.”

The state has established a fund for private citizens to contribute to help the state pay for defending this law. While this bill was being debated, the cost of defending the law in court was brought up. Everyone or just about everyone knows this is going to be a long, hard, drag out fight. I would suggest the Alpha Center reconsider intervening, and work with state’s team to provide the strongest defense possible.

I would urge the state to accept the assistance.

Lawyers for the state argued during a Monday hearing on the injunction request that a woman simply could avoid speaking with the counselors, but (judge) Schreier said that was unrealistic.

“Defendants offer no explanation on how an interview ‘to discuss her circumstances’ could be done without the pregnant woman actually disclosing ‘her circumstances,’ ” she wrote.

I almost choked on my coffee when I read that. There is some common sense coming from the bench.

The Alpha Center is no more a fringe group than Planned Parenthood is. They are both filing on the behalf of women who are either seeking abortions, or have had abortions. Both groups are affected by this lawsuit, therefore, why not let them both in the ring (court) ?

The law as it written is a good comprise. It doesn’t completely ban abortions, at the same time it doesn’t give abortion clinics free reign either. It does compel those seeking abortions to become informed, and allows them time to think about the decision. After all isn’t that what we want, is for someone to be able to make an informed decision?

20 Replies to “Was Anyone Really Surprised?”

  1. Electrifying South Dakota

    Having been in the ‘ring’ a few times I can honestly say that the inclusion of additional Defendants and Plaintiffs is a mixed bag, particularly where one of the dominant parties is the State of South Dakota. Mr. Jackley has surrounded himself with very competent and capable legal counsel, and he is no slouch in the first-chair position either. I have all of the faith in the world that Mr. Jackley will make sure that excellent legal representation is provided, and I really question, outside of filing some form of an amicus brief, what benefit the State is going to receive from having the Alpha Center toss itself in as a Defendant.

    1. Spencer

      You are right about the mixed bag. Jackley is very competent in his job, and I have a high degree of confidence in him. Hopefully, the Alpha Center focuses on how they can help the state make the case of how Pregnancy Help Centers will play a positive role in this new law.

      The Alpha Center’s testimony at the HB 1217’s hearing helped immensely in demonstrating how helpful these centers are in helping women. Planned Parenthood likes to claim that they have more competent and professional staffing than places like the Alpha Center, but that is normally not the case. The Red River Valley Planned Parenthood Clinic in Fargo only had one to two people staffing the place most of the week when the abortion doctor did not fly in. The girl working at the front desk went to my college at the time and was an activist/Women Studies student (and widely known as a liberal basket case). The woman who was giving our bioethics class a tour did the pre-abortion “counseling” for the clinic at the time (2004). She had no background that would qualify her for such a position and worked her remaining hours as a janitor at a local nursing home. Encouraging young women to get abortions was just another paycheck to her. Instances like this highlight why we need this law to take effect as soon as possible.

  2. caheidelberger

    The law is not a compromise. It is an extreme effort to make a legal medical procedure practically unobtainable in South Dakota. The state should not accept further assistance; it should abandon what Judge Schreier made pretty clear yesterday is going to be a losing fight.

      1. Guard

        This bill can take a flying leap off a cliff. We need another referendum during the next general election to end it. We speak for us, not the Legislature.

        1. Guard

          Why are the Republicans in Pierre afraid to put this issue to a vote in the next general election? Hmmmm? Don’t worry, some one else will make sure it makes it to the ballot…again.

          1. Stace Nelson

            If every South Dakotan heard what I heard at the Judiciary Committee hearing on this matter, this law would be upheld.

            Folks… Read the law, listen to the hearing at the links above. If this was truly about the “rights” of these women as claimed, those protesting this law would be instead protesting the coercion women receive to have an abortion at these clinics and by others.

    1. Guard

      If he was a “top notch” guy, he and the GOP would have not meddled in this issue after the voters resoundingly rejected the ban in 2006. In South Dakota, we have saying: “Under God, the People Rule,” and NOT the Republican Good Ol’ Boys in Pierre.

  3. Guard

    It’s time for the Legislature to listen to the will of the voters of South Dakota and stop meddling. We already voted against the ban in overwhelming numbers in 2006 and this Judge has put an end to this meddling. Good for her and the constituents of South Dakota who spoke for themselves in 2006 and do not need the Legislature to “speak for them.” Keep this up and another referendum is coming. You Republicans in Pierre keep meddling and we keep voting your meddling down. That’s just the way it is.

  4. Bruce Whalen

    Guard, The 2006 campaign was not very well ran and the way the question was written it didn’t help pro-birth advocates. I was on the ground across the entire state and heard voter confusion among pro-birth and pro-choice advocates. Let’s face it, the pro-death movement did a better job at getting its supporters to the poll. At the moment the pro-death movement is doing a better job at convincing voters that it is taboo to regulate abortion. Even the Supreme Court pondered the question of when life begins, which suggests regulation between opposing viewpoints. Children know the answer to that question and regulate their fresh opinion by holding their ear to a mother’s tummy in anticipation of a brother or sister.

  5. CaveMan

    Excellant explanation Mr. Whalen. There are certain few cases where an abortion can be warranted and must be included in any law or bill for it to gain the publics trust. The 06 law had none which is why it failed. The all or nothing mind set cannot rule.

    Guard, if this has been your A-Game you are the reason there are so many Republicans in Pierre.

  6. Bruce Whalen

    Caveman, I am pro-birth and in that sense I don’t feel there is ever a time “where an abortion can be warrented”. In my opinion abortion is not “warrented” for incest or rape for example. And understanding how medical practice attempts to save both lives of mother and child yet the child dies during a procedure, when that crisis arises, is something I am still working through. Since 1973 it seems regulation of saving both lives where possible warrents having legislation to take this issue out of the court, where laws are interpreted and not made. In my opinion if saving the life of a child and mother is heading in the direction of that intent then regulation is better than what we have now.

  7. Stan Gibilisco

    I hope that our legislature will leave the abortion issue as it lies, and get on with matters of the economy: how we can keep our state near the top for small-business friendliness and at the same time improve teacher salaries, for example.

  8. CaveMan

    Mr. Whalen I respect your opinion 100% and wish things in the real world to be so easy to write one law to cover; but knowing that the scope of human tragedy comes in multiple forms will always insist on a gray area to cover those extreme cases where the inocent are controlled by the guilty. One of the Ten Commandments tells us to not kill. Though in self defense we all have given the gray area to that one style of murder. A gray area written into common law, or just something we find attractive in keeping the common criminal at bay? We cannot have it both ways.

  9. Elais

    Bruce Whalen,

    To me, pro-birth means that one values the womb far more than woman. Pro-birth means that one is pro-rape and pro-incest and woman are little more than incubators.

  10. SD Thinker

    The anti-choice crowd is begging for donations to help defend this law. From the Alpha Center’s FB page, Tim Fountain wrote this on July 7th,
    “Those wishing to help South Dakota defend pro-life HB 1217 (the waiting period law) can contribute to the State’s designated fund: Checks need to be made out to State of South Dakota, with “Life Protection Subfund” in the memo line. Mail to:
    Bureau of Administration
    500 E. Capitol
    Pierre, SD 57501″

    Rep. Roger Hunt said the account held $3M, when told by Rep. Peters it was more like $22,000, Hunt said he was told $3M would be in the account if the bill passed and was challenged. I would really love to see the true balance in that account, I’m assuming the promised $3M never came, otherwise they wouldn’t be begging for donations on FB.


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