South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order Tuesday that tightens restrictions around abortion in South Dakota.
The Republican directed the Mount Rushmore State’s Department of Health to establish rules preventing telemedicine from leading directly to terminating a pregnancy.
“Here what the Biden administration is doing is trying to put forward abortion on demand and we’re going to stop them and make sure that’s not available in our state,” Noem told Fox News Tuesday night.
Today, I signed an Executive Order preventing telemedicine abortions in South Dakota.
The Biden Administration is 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. pic.twitter.com/sFWaLIYzmF
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 7, 2021
The executive order restricts telemedicine abortions by:
- Declaring that abortion drugs may only be prescribed or dispensed by a physician who is licensed in South Dakota after an in-person examination;
- Blocking abortion-inducing drugs from being provided via courier, delivery, telemedicine, or mail service;
- Preventing abortion-inducing drugs from being dispensed or provided in schools or on state grounds; and
- Reiterating that licensed physicians must ensure that Informed Consent laws are properly administered.
Currently, South Dakota physicians are required by law to examine a pregnant woman before scheduling an abortion. Women must then wait 72 hours before the deadly procedure. The law also mandates abortions after the first trimester occur in a hospital and wholly outlaws abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy — unless deemed a medical emergency.
Many months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration loosened restrictions around telemedicine by allowing abortion pills to be shipped to patients in the mail.
More than 18 months after coronavirus hit the U.S., Noem no longer accepts this.
“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,” the governor said in a statement. “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. I will continue working with the legislature and my Unborn Child Advocate to ensure that South Dakota remains a strong pro-life state.”
Noem’s executive order also orders the health department to collect data on chemical abortions while increasing reporting requirements for emergency room complications related to that type of abortion.
“We commend Gov. 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,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Tuesday. “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. Gov. Noem is setting a courageous model today that we hope more state leaders across the nation will soon follow.”
But Kristin Hayward, manager of advocacy and development at Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, believes the executive order is an attack on so-called “reproductive freedom.”
“We know most South Dakotans support the right to safe, legal abortion, but Noem is following a vocal minority that is attacking abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sexual education in this country,” she claimed. “Planned Parenthood will always stand up for patients and communities.”
In a solidly Republican state that re-elected their junior senator by 30 points last fall, and where Noem remains popular, it’s hard to agree with Hayward that the governor represents a minority position.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.