Telemedicine Abortions Banned, Chemical Abortions Restricted by S.D. Gov. Noem’s Executive Order

Craig Bannister | September 8, 2021 | 11:48am EDT
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S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem

On Tuesday, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-12, directing the state’s Department of Health to establish rules preventing telemedicine abortions in South Dakota. The executive order also restricts chemical abortions in the state.

The executive order is one step in her effort to protect the unborn from the Biden Administration’s efforts to thwart state pro-life measures and make abortions easier to obtain via telemedicine, Gov. Noem says in a statement released on Tuesday:

“The Biden Administration is continuing to overstep its authority and suppress legislatures that are standing up for the unborn to pass strong pro-life laws. They are working right now to make it easier to end the life of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion. 

“That is not going to happen in South Dakota.”

Gov. Noem says the executive order 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.

 The executive order also directs the Department of Health to:

  • 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.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster are among the pro-life leaders who have issued statements applauding Gov. Noem’s executive order.

“We commend Governor Noem for taking this bold action that will save lives from dangerous chemical abortions, which have a fourfold higher rate of complications compared to surgical abortion,” Dannenfelser said, warning that the Biden administration’s policies are putting women at risk:

“The Biden administration would turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion center if they had their way, leaving women alone and at risk of severe heavy bleeding, physical, emotional, and psychological stress, and more. States must take action. Governor Noem is setting a courageous model today that we hope more state leaders across the nation will soon follow.”

“I applaud Governor Noem’s action today to stop dangerous chemical abortion drugs from being mailed to South Dakota women,” Foster said: 

“This is no longer about ‘a woman and her doctor,’ but a woman – or girl – and a stranger on the internet. States can no longer depend on the FDA to regulate abortion drugs in any meaningful way, and I am pleased to see Governor Noem step up for her state.

“Abortion is never safe, but it’s far more dangerous when women are abandoned by physicians and left to manage their complications alone.”

Gov. Noem says she will work to pass laws that will make these, and other, pro-life measures permanent.

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