Rights of Patients Ignored as SB92 Dies in Committee

Rights of Patients Ignored

Sioux Falls, SD, February 11, 2009 – Today in a South Dakota Senate committee Senate Bill 92 (SB 92), a bill to protect the rights of patients seeking an abortion, died in committee. According to Senator Gordon Howie, sponsor of this bill, “SB 92 would have provided an opportunity for women to meet with a physician for counseling 24 hours prior to an abortion.” Currently in South Dakota women seeking an abortion do not actually meet the physician until they have signed their consent forms for the abortion, paid for the procedure and are in the procedure room waiting for the procedure to begin. By all medical standards, this is uncommon.

Many testimonies were heard from both sides of this issue. According to Dr. Patti Giebink, former Planned Parenthood abortion provider in South Dakota who testified on behalf of the bill, “SB 92 was designed to improve the standard of medical care women receive at the abortion clinic in South Dakota. It would seem logical and compassionate to provide each woman sufficient time and opportunity beforehand to talk with the doctor doing the abortion procedure.” She continues by stating, “We know this is not happening from the accounts we hear from women. Kudos to Senator Gordon Howie for seeing this lack and trying to change the problem.”

One woman who had an abortion, Leah Anderson, also testified on behalf of SB 92. After hearing that SB 92 died in committee she said, “It is very degrading to women seeking abortion to say that you must first pay in cash, then sign a consent form, and then see the doctor for the procedure. Why can’t a women talk to a doctor, then consent and then pay for her services like any other medical procedure? While I have experienced abortion and the pain it causes both physically and emotionally, I will continue to educate women that there are better options such as adoption and parenting. Whether you agree or disagree about abortion itself, women deserve the right to meet with the doctor before consenting to an abortion.”

In reference to those opposed to SB 92, Dr. Giebink said, “From the testimony on Monday, it is clear that the opposition has no new information and shows little true concern for the women considering abortion.”

Senator Howie, following the death of SB 92 said, “I have been hugely encouraged with the support from so many South Dakotans. Their testimony and support provided one more chance to educate those who do not know what really happens to women as they struggle with the deep decisions surrounding abortion. This battle was not in vain. We will continue until we prevail!”

Vote on the bill was four to three. Voting for the bill were Democrat Kathy Miles and Republican Jason Gant both of Sioux Falls and Republication Tom Hansen of Huron. Voting against the bill were Republican Tom Dempster and Democrat Sandy Jerstad both of Sioux Falls, Republican Stan Adelstein of Rapid City and Democrat Pam Merchant of Brookings.

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