South Dakota Tries to Follow Texas' Lead on Abortion

Gov. Kristi Noem issues executive order with new restrictions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2021 2:32 PM CDT
South Dakota Tries to Follow Texas' Lead on Abortion
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall File)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is tightening the state's abortion laws, starting with an executive order. An order issued by the Republican governor states that abortion-inducing medication can only be prescribed by a physician licensed in South Dakota after an in-person examination; further, the medication must be collected in person instead of provided via courier, delivery, telemedicine, or mail service, the Hill reports. The order also bans the medication from being provided in schools or on state grounds, including at colleges and universities.

Noem has already ordered a top legal advisor to review state abortion law and look for ways that it could mimic—or even go beyond—the new Texas law banning abortions after about six weeks, USA Today reports. Current South Dakota law bans abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy.

The requirement that a patient be examined in person was already part of state law, but the language around telemedicine is apparently an attempt to head off an expected FDA move to allow abortion medications to be dispensed through the mail, the AP reports. "They are working right now to make it easier to end the life of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion," Noem said in a statement. "That is not going to happen in South Dakota.”

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Noem isn't the only conservative Republican governor who has been emboldened by the Texas law, which survived a Supreme Court challenge last week. GOP officials in at least six states, including Florida and South Carolina, have ordered reviews of abortion laws in recent days, the Washington Post reports. Another bill restricting abortion medications has been sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for approval. (More South Dakota stories.)

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