South Dakota Governor Signs Legislation Further Restricting Access to Medical Abortions

The law, which cleared the state House and Senate in recent weeks, would make South Dakota one of the toughest places in the country to get abortion drugs, requiring pregnant women to make at least three separate trips to a clinic for abortifacient drugs.

While the Biden administration lifted the requirement that abortion drugs be delivered in person last year, South Dakota’s new law requires that a pregnant woman who wishes to obtain the abortion drug be first screened and then wait three days before getting the first drug in two-dosing process. The woman should then make a third visit to receive the second dose.

“South Dakota will continue to advance legislation that protects the lives of unborn children,” the Republican governor said in a statement Wednesday.

Republican lawmakers in primarily GOP-led states, such as Alabama and Iowa, have repeatedly championed legislation banning or restricting medical abortion. Supporters of the South Dakota law say the legislation is necessary to protect the woman’s health and prevent drug abuse, but abortion rights advocates have argued that the measure imposes unnecessary restrictions and heavy.

The law essentially codifies a state Health Department rule, drafted under Noem’s direction, that was approved in early January but blocked from enforcement by a federal judge. As a result, the law will only go into effect if the judge’s injunction is lifted, which the Noem administration is seeking on appeal.

Current state law allows the medical abortion process to begin 72 hours “after the physician has physically and personally met the pregnant woman,” except in medical emergencies, and generally only requires one visit. in a licensed facility to receive the necessary medications.

But the new law, like the state rule, requires women to receive both drugs used in a medical abortion in person at a licensed abortion center and prohibits them from receiving the pills in the mail. The law also makes it a Class 6 felony for someone practicing medicine without a state license to prescribe the drugs for a medical abortion.

A medical abortion, also called medical abortion, is a non-surgical procedure that is effective until about 10 weeks into your pregnancy. This involves taking the two drugs mifepristone and misoprostol one or two days apart. Women usually receive both drugs during the same visit to their doctor or clinics.

They take the mifepristone pill at a clinic and are advised to take the misoprostol pill at home a day or two later.

Surveying all known abortion providers, preliminary data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute shows that 54% of abortions in the United States in 2020 were medical abortions. This is a significant increase from 2017, the last time the think tank published such data, when medical abortions accounted for 39% of abortions.


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