The New York Times finally did its bit on the anti-abortion legislative madness happening in South Dakota. According to the article:
A law signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Tuesday makes the state the first to require women who are seeking abortions to first attend a consultation at such “pregnancy help centers,” to learn what assistance is available “to help the mother keep and care for her child.”
The story is very "balanced," which is to say, both sides get equal airtime. The reporter also tastefully ended with a quote from the pro-choice camp. However, I would have liked to see more of a description of what the actual places are like -- what goes on in a pregnancy crisis center? What kind of (mis)information are they peddling? How does this contrast with the medically sound information that is offered by trained physicians at clinics such as Planned Parenthood?
Information like this would help the reader decide if it is a good or bad thing that women be sent to these centers before being allowed to execute her own, difficult decision to go through with an abortion. I watched an excellent documentary last year at the IFC called "12th and Delaware," about a pregnancy crisis center and an abortion clinic that are across the street from one another in Florida. The filmmakers spent a year with the staff of the crisis center; their footage shows a tremendous amount of inaccurate information being dispensed to young -- often very, very young -- women who in some excruciating cases do not have enough of their own information to evaluate whether or not this information is valid. Pamphlets scattered around the centers tout a (totally bogus) link between abortion and breast cancer. Employees coax women away from the abortion clinic by literally promising them "anything they need," as in, money, food, clothes (Are they going to pay for that child's college education?). They drag one poor mother in and before the door shuts, you hear them saying "why don't you pick out a toy for your child?" It's incredibly coercive and flat-out deceptive.
The article also curiously failed to mention a previous bill introduced in South Dakota that would have permitted homicide in order to save a fetus. Thankfully, this bill failed, but it would have been worth mentioning in the story, in order to indicate how viciously hostile the legislature is towards women's reproductive autonomy: lawmakers would sooner sanction murder than let a woman choose.
So much other anti-choice nastiness is cooking in the Midwest; I look forward to more reporting on it in the paper of record.