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