South Dakota governor issues order restricting abortion medications

On Tuesday, Republican governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem issued an executive order requiring abortion medications to be picked up in person at a doctor’s office following a consultation.

Previously, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had lifted restrictions on how abortion-inducing pills could be obtained, specifically that they could be sent by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. They determined that risk was not increased with medications being sent remotely through telemedicine. Under the new order, however, patients are required to receive an in-person exam before a state-licensed doctor can prescribe an abortion pill.

Data will also be collected on the number of chemical abortions performed, any complications, and information to indicate whether the woman was “coerced or sex trafficked and forced to take the pills.” The order not only says abortion medications cannot be delivered via mail service, but they also cannot be provided in any school or on state grounds, which includes colleges and universities (The Hill).

Noem’s order notes that the FDA is expected to lift additional restrictions on abortion medication beginning in November, and Noem writes, “The result is likely to be an increase in chemical abortions and resulting complications.” She continued in the order, “South Dakota is a state that values life and prioritizes women’s health and safety above politics by basing public policy on science and data rather than political talking points.”

The state’s Department of Health indicates that around 39 percent of abortions in South Dakota in 2020 were carried out through medication. 125 total abortions were performed in the state during that same time frame, 19 of which were performed on out of state residents, and none of which were sought as a result of rape or incest.

The South Dakota order comes just after the Supreme Court denied a request from Texas abortion providers to block a law from going into effect on September 1. The law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on May 19 of this year, prohibits abortions after the first six weeks and allows individuals to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after the approved period for up to $10,000 and legal fees.

Lawmakers in Florida and Arkansas are looking to pass similar bills as the Texas law has emboldened the pro-life movement. A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports found that 46 percent of Likely U.S. Voters support the law, while 43 percent oppose it.  


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