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Sioux Falls, SD— A federal judge has sustained a preliminary injunction that prevents a law from going into effect that would require people seeking an abortion to visit a so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Center” (CPC). CPCs are strongly opposed to abortion and seek to prevent people from accessing the full range of sexual and reproductive health care options, including abortion, and often provide people with false and misleading information.  The case, PPMNS v. Daugaard, challenges HB 1217, which passed the South Dakota legislature and was scheduled to go into effect in 2011.
“We applaud the Court’s decision to continue to block this absurd and medically unnecessary law,” said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States.  “The ruling maintains the status quo for South Dakota women, which means that women will not be forced to visit an organization that is strongly opposed to abortion before seeking abortion care.  Abortion remains legal in South Dakota today and we are proud to provide this crucial service in the state.”

Following last week’s decision, Governor Noem, other state defendants, and intervenors announced that they will be appealing the decision to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Governor Noem continues to oppose reproductive freedom and South Dakotans’ right to make their own health care decisions, as indicated by her intent to appeal this decision.  In December 2020, defendants, and intervenors in the case, filed a motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction in the case. Planned Parenthood opposed the motion, and on Friday the court denied the motion and continued to block this blatantly unconstitutional law while the case is litigated in full. 

The court’s opinion states “A pregnancy help center counselor enters an interview with a pregnant woman under the paternalistic assumption that the woman has not decided to seek an abortion of her own volition, but rather because she is unable to make a decision on her own and is subject to societal pressures.”

CPCs have a long and documented history of misleading women and misrepresenting themselves as legitimate medical providers. CPCs are storefronts that use false and misleading advertising and the offer of free pregnancy tests or other services to lure women into their offices. Their goal is to dissuade women from obtaining an abortion, often by providing misinformation that is meant to scare or shame them.
Investigations in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia all have documented CPCs’ intentionally misleading practices. Many of those investigated gave women inaccurate information, including that birth control and abortion increase the risk of infertility and breast cancer, that condoms are ineffective in reducing pregnancy and the transmission of certain STDs, and that abortion causes mental illness.

Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 55,000 people in our region.