Where I came from, it was the lack of choices that overwhelmed you. It should be no surprise that my birth state has maintained this oppression*.
There is one lonely clinic in South Dakota that provides abortions. There are no doctors in the state to perform them; they are flown in from Minnesota. South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation with the most restrictive laws against access to legal abortions (causal effect anyone?). Starting in July you will have to, after waiting 72 hours, sit through a counseling session at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). There are no exceptions, not even if you were raped or a victim of incest, unless it’s a medical emergency. That is worth repeating: not even if you were raped or a victim of incest.
If you’re not familiar, Crisis Pregnancy Centers love to lie to women. They are experts at coercion. They are unregulated. They were established to deceive. They are legal. They have received tens of millions of dollars in federal funding.
What to do?
I suggest that because Crisis Pregnancy Centers apparently can be anything they want, create them with the intent to actually help women and the communities within which they operate. If the law states that you must visit a Center for counseling, then appropriate this trojan horse. There are no doubt good people fighting this obscene law in corrupt courts (the same courts that allow these laws to exist) and they should continue to do so. But clearly this strategy is not working.
This is a crisis and I see no reason why we can’t take their model and scale it for good. There are plenty of empty store fronts in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. Rent this space and counsel women on their reproductive justice options. Because as Leslee Unruh so eloquently states, “What are they so afraid of? That women might change their minds?”
* “Being oppressed means the absence of choices.” bell hooks Feminist Theory: from margin to center