SIOUX FALLS, SD – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday issued an executive order to restrict access to abortive drugs and clarify that drug-induced abortions are state law requiring consultation in person with a doctor.
Amid a nationwide push among Republicans to ban most abortions, Noem called on the state’s health department to create rules according to which abortion-inducing drugs can only be prescribed or dispensed by a state-approved doctor after an in-person examination. South Dakota law already places this requirement on doctors, but the Republican governor’s order was issued in anticipation that the Food and Drug Administration later this year will allow the distribution of abortion drugs through the mail or in virtual pharmacies.
Access to abortion medication has become an urgent issue after a Texas law came into effect last week banning abortions once healthcare professionals can detect heart activity, typically around six weeks and before. that many women know they are pregnant.
About 39% of abortions in South Dakota last year were performed using medication, according to the Department of Health. The state has a clinic that regularly performs abortions. Opponents of the ban on telemedicine abortions say the method is safe and that banning it would have a disproportionate effect on rural residents who have to make long drives to the nearest abortion clinic.
“Having an abortion is a private medical decision, protected by the US Constitution, and it is disappointing that Governor Noem continues to fit into the patient-doctor relationship,” said Janna Farley, director of communications for the American Civil Liberties. Union of South Dakota. “It is clear that the attacks on our abortion rights are not easing in South Dakota.”
Noem argues in her order that drug-induced abortions can be life threatening and that she made the order in the interest of women’s health and safety.
Doctors, under South Dakota law, are already required to meet with a pregnant woman and perform an examination before scheduling a surgical or medical abortion. Women should wait 72 hours before the procedure. The law also requires that abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy be performed in a hospital and completely prohibits abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, unless it is a medical emergency.
Noem’s order prevents the delivery of drugs by mail or other delivery services and prohibits the distribution of drugs to schools or on state property. It also requires licenses for all clinics that only prescribe medication for abortions and require more stringent reporting on drug-induced abortions and all related health complications.
Similar restrictions, such as an Ohio law that was passed this year, have been barred by the courts from coming into effect.
In response to the Texas law coming into effect last week, President Joe Biden pledged to review “steps the federal government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and secure abortions. legal “.
Noem’s ordinance makes it clear that she expects the legislature to make her ordinance law next year. She accused the Biden administration of leveraging telemedicine abortions to undermine state laws and facilitate abortion.
“They are working right now to facilitate the death of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion,” Noem said in a statement. “It won’t happen in South Dakota.”