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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Pregnancy Help Center Bill Advances

A bill that separates abortion and adoption services from pregnancy help centers in the state is nearing its final hurdle. The help centers were established in 2011 with support from the anti-abortion lobby.  The centers seek to council women on options during pregnancy.    The 2011 legislation has been tied up in court because opponents say it requires women who are seeking an abortion to take unnecessary counseling.   
 
A prime sponsor of the bill, State Senator Al Novstrup says coupling abortion or adoption services with any counseling at these centers is a conflict of interest. He says this measure clears up a problem in the current law.   
 
"So if we say to the people who do abortions, 'you're too biased to do be a counselor in this situation,' to be fair we have to say it to the other side too.  And that's what this bill is all about.  It is saying to both, is saying that we're going to continue with this concept of the pregnancy help center, but we're going to demand that the people doing that the organizations do not make money form abortion or adoption," says Novstrup.

But opponents countered that the bill only makes a bad law worse.  They say the bill harms women and removes avenues for adoption services.   The committee went on to pass the bill unanimously. It heads next to the Senate floor.