State Watch

South Dakota Republicans block Noem abortion ban

South Dakota Republicans have blocked Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) bill seeking to ban almost all abortions in the state over concerns its language could interfere with another legal challenge against Planned Parenthood.

The House State Affairs Committee in the South Dakota legislature declined Wednesday to take up Noem’s proposal, which if enacted would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — which can occur as early as six weeks after pregnancy — and place a minimum $10,000 fine on anybody who assists others in getting an abortion, according to The Associated Press.

The bill, which mirrors Texas’s controversial abortion law that went into effect in September, allows private citizens to enforce it. It does not call for exceptions for rape or incest, though it does say that men who commit said rape or incest are not permitted to sue.

Organizations that are against access to abortion voiced concerns regarding Noem’s draft of the bill, the AP reported.

According to the AP, State House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R) said that while he agreed with Noem’s overarching objective of banning abortions, he could not get behind the language in the legislation because it would “jeopardize” the state’s stance in another legal conflict with Planned Parenthood, which is the state’s sole health clinic that provides abortions. 

Planned Parenthood, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, filed a lawsuit last month challenging a new rule that would mandate that patients wait at least 24 hours before they can be given the second portion of a two-dose medication needed for a medication abortion, according to a statement from Planned Parenthood. The regulation would require that patients visit a health center on three separate occasions to receive an abortion.

Noem slammed the committee’s decision in a statement on Wednesday, writing, “Every single life is precious and deserving of our protection — but apparently South Dakota legislators think otherwise.”

“South Dakota deserved to have a hearing on a bill to protect the heartbeats of unborn children. We can hear heartbeats at six weeks, but I’m disappointed this bill was not granted even one hearing,” she added.

Tags Abortion abortion restrictions abortion rights Kristi Noem Planned Parenthood Reproductive rights South Dakota

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