S.D. Legislature will hear governor’s request to ban chemical abortions from being sent through the mail

By Dave Andrusko

On September 7, South Dakota’s pro-life Gov. Kristi Noem issued Executive Order 2021-12 that “directs the South Dakota Department of Health to establish rules preventing telemedicine abortions in South Dakota,” according to the governor’s office. “The executive order also restricts chemical abortions in the state.” 

With the Food and Drug Administration firmly under control of the pro-abortion Biden-Harris administration, it is widely expected the FDA will convert the temporary relaxation of the requirement that women have an in-person visit before undergoing a chemical abortion into a permanent change. Gov. Noem said she looked forward “to work[ing] with the South Dakota legislature to pass legislation that makes these and other protocols permanent in the 2022 legislative session.”

In response, the Department of Health proposes a rule “to limit the dispensing and use of medications mifepristone and misoprostol to only a licensed abortion facility and only within nine weeks of conception,” according to reporter Bob Mercer. The department also wants to require that the abortion-minded woman be informed that effects of the mifepristone medication may be reversible—Abortion Pill Reversal.

“The public hearing on the medical-abortion proposal is set for December 8 at 11 a.m. CT.”

The Associated Press explained that South Dakota already has rules “that abortion-inducing drugs can only be prescribed or dispensed by a state-licensed physician after an in-person examination.” While “South Dakota law already places that requirement on doctors,” Stephen Groves reported, “the Republican governor’s order was made in anticipation that the Food and Drug Administration later this year will allow abortion medications to be dispensed through the mail or virtual pharmacies.”

The state Department of Health reports that about 39% of abortions in South Dakota last year were chemically-induced.

According to the governor’s office, Executive Order 2021-12 restricts telemedicine abortion in the following ways:

  • Declares that abortion drugs may only be prescribed or dispensed by a physician who is licensed in South Dakota after an in-person examination;
  • Blocks abortion-inducing drugs from being provided via courier, delivery, telemedicine, or mail service;
  • Prevents abortion-inducing drugs from being dispensed or provided in schools or on state grounds; and
  • Reiterates that licensed physicians must ensure that Informed Consent laws are properly administered.

It also directs the Department of Health to do the following:

  • Develop licensing requirements for “pill only” abortion clinics;
  • Collect empirical data on how often chemical abortions are performed as a percentage of all abortions, including how often women experience complications that require a medical follow-up; and
  • Enhance reporting requirements on emergency room complications related to chemical abortion.

Meanwhile, the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee will decide today whether the state Department of Health can go forward “with various changes to the informed-consent form that a physician is required to provide to the pregnant mother,” according to Mercer.

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