Sunday, May 28, 2023

The governor of South Dakota claims she will ban abortion pills without punishing women

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – South Dakota’s Republican governor on Sunday vowed to ban mail order abortion pills, but said women should not be prosecuted for seeking them.

In apparent refusal of legal guidance by the Department of Justice after the Supreme Court last week stripped women of their constitutional protection for abortion, Kristi Noem indicated in national television interviews that she would implement a plan approved by state lawmakers to restrict the pills . The majority ruling by the court’s conservative judges on Friday resulted in an abortion ban in South Dakota and elsewhere.

But Noem said doctors, not their patients, would probably be prosecuted because they knew violations of what would be one of the strictest abortion pill laws in the United States.

“I do not believe women should ever be persecuted,” she said. “I do not believe there should be any punishment for women who are ever in a crisis situation or have an unplanned pregnancy.”

This includes mail order or so-called telemedicine abortion pills, which have been on the rise in the country since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone – the main drug used in medication abortions.

More than 90% of abortions occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. Abortion pills are expected to become more in demand, as more than half of the states are likely to move to ban abortions after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Namely, a strong opponent of abortion rights facing re-election in November and named as a possible presidential contender in 2024, considered the distribution of abortion pills as unsafe and convened a special session to draft new laws.

“These are very dangerous medical procedures,” Noem said, referring to abortion pills. “We do not believe it should be available because it is a dangerous situation for those individuals without being medically supervised by a doctor.”

In a state where Republicans have super-majorities in both state chambers, South Dakota lawmakers have made proposals that would also make it harder for women to seek an abortion from the state. Voters in South Dakota rejected a total ban in 2006 and 2008, and advocates of abortion rights are preparing for a similar referendum on abortion access.

In a statement Friday, President Joe Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, said the Department of Justice would protect abortion providers and those seeking abortions in states where it is legal and would “cooperate with other arms of the federal government seeking to use their legal authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care. ”

“The FDA has specifically approved the use of the medication mifepristone,” he added. “States may not ban mifepristone on the grounds of disagreement with the FDA’s expert opinion on its safety and efficacy.”

The South Dakota Act, passed in March, requires women seeking an abortion to make three separate trips to a doctor to take abortion pills, making it clear that women in the state do not take the pills through a can not get telemedicine consultation. The law was halted after a federal judge ruled in February that it probably placed an ‘unnecessary burden on a person’s right to seek an abortion.

Two drugs are needed. The first, mifepristone, blocks a hormone needed to maintain a pregnancy. A second drug, misoprostol, taken one to two days later, empties the uterus. Both drugs are available as generic drugs and are also used to treat other conditions.

The FDA last year lifted a long-standing requirement that women personally pick up abortion pills. Federal regulations now also allow mail delivery nationwide. Nevertheless, about 19 states have passed laws requiring a medical clinician to be physically present when administering abortion pills to a patient.

South Dakota is one of them, joining several states, including Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma, where Republicans have moved in recent months to further restrict access to abortion pills.

One portion of the South Dakota Act, which goes into effect in July, contains a section that does not depend on federal courts: the penalty increases to an offense for anyone prescribing medication for an abortion without a license of the South Dakota Council of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners.

A broader court decision is pending in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.

Name spoke on ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’s “Face the Nation”.

Associated Press author Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contributed to this report.

For Associated Press’s full coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, go to

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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