SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (LifeSiteNews) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has issued an executive order restricting telemedicine abortions and chemical abortions, while also seeking to emulate, or go beyond, Texas’ recently enacted Heartbeat Act.
The move by the Republican governor directs the South Dakota Department of Health to establish rules preventing telemedicine abortions and restricting chemical abortions in the state.
Noem is reported to have been emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow a Texas law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — known as the Texas Heartbeat Act — to stand.
The executive order comes just days after Noem directed one of her top legal advisors to find areas where South Dakota’s abortion laws can be tightened to reflect the new Texas law, or go further, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
“The Biden Administration is continuing to overstep its authority and suppress legislatures that are standing up for the unborn to pass strong pro-life laws. They are working right now to make it easier to end the life of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion. That is not going to happen in South Dakota,” said Gov. Noem in an official statement. “I will continue working with the legislature and my Unborn Child Advocate to ensure that South Dakota remains a strong pro-life state.”
The governor’s statement explains that her executive order “restricts telemedicine abortion in the following ways”:
- Declares that abortion drugs may only be prescribed or dispensed by a physician who is licensed in South Dakota after an in-person examination;
- Blocks abortion-inducing drugs from being provided via courier, delivery, telemedicine, or mail service;
- Prevents abortion-inducing drugs from being dispensed or provided in schools or on state grounds; and
- Reiterates that licensed physicians must ensure that Informed Consent laws are properly administered.
The order also directs the Department of Health to do the following:
- Develop licensing requirements for “pill only” abortion clinics;
- Collect empirical data on how often chemical abortions are performed as a percentage of all abortions, including how often women experience complications that require a medical follow-up; and
- Enhance reporting requirements on emergency room complications related to chemical abortion.
Governor Noem indicated she plans to work with the South Dakota legislature to enact laws that will make these protocols permanent in the 2022 legislative session.
“We commend Governor Noem for taking this bold action that will save lives from dangerous chemical abortions, which have a fourfold higher rate of complications compared to surgical abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List. “The Biden administration would turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion center if they had their way, leaving women alone and at risk of severe heavy bleeding, physical, emotional, and psychological stress, and more. States must take action. Governor Noem is setting a courageous model today that we hope more state leaders across the nation will soon follow.”
“I applaud Governor Noem’s action today to stop dangerous chemical abortion drugs from being mailed to South Dakota women,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL). “This is no longer about ‘a woman and her doctor,’ but a woman – or girl – and a stranger on the internet. States can no longer depend on the FDA to regulate abortion drugs in any meaningful way, and I am pleased to see Governor Noem step up for her state. Abortion is never safe, but it’s far more dangerous when women are abandoned by physicians and left to manage their complications alone.”
“We know that chemical abortions, prescribed by strangers on the internet and delivered by mail, are what Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists consider a promising growth industry,” continued the AUL statement. “We must not let corporate greed and callous disregard of basic health and safety protections put the lives of women in danger.”
“We know that Chemical Abortion Pills are 4 times as dangerous as surgical abortion and increase the risk of a woman’s death by 10 times. We know that without proper screening and examination, women can suffer infection, bleeding, infertility and even death,” said Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins.
“Gov. Noem puts women first in signing this executive order. Cutting out health and safety standards benefits abortionists, saving them time, money, and legal liability as they drop deadly Chemical Abortion Pills in the mail and medically abandon women,” continued Hawkins. “This is not about healthcare; it’s about Corporate Abortion’s bottom line and the power of politicians who don’t care about whether women survive taking the pills.”
Abortion defenders were not as pleased.
“Having an abortion is a private medical decision, one that is protected under the U.S. Constitution, and it’s disappointing that Gov. Noem continues to insert herself into the patient-doctor relationship,” Janna Farley, communications director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, told the Associated Press. “It’s clear that the attacks on our abortion rights are not letting up in South Dakota.”
Here is the complete text of Gov. Noem’s executive order: