South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Files Bill to Ban Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 21, 2022   |   5:21PM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Friday by introducing legislation to protect unborn babies from abortion in the hopes that the infamous ruling soon will be overturned.

The pro-life Republican governor released two pro-life draft bills Friday, including one that would ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.

“Every human life is unique and beautiful from the moment it is conceived. Every life is worthy of our protection, worthy of the right to live,” Noem said in a statement.

Similar to the Texas law that has been in effect since September, saving thousands of lives, Noem’s bill includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows individuals to sue abortionists and others who knowingly aid or abet in abortions that kill unborn babies with beating hearts. Mothers of the aborted babies may not be sued, and lawsuits may not be filed by men who impregnated the mothers through rape or incest.

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Noem also introduced a second bill to ban telemedicine abortionsa follow-up to an executive rule that she created for the same purpose. The legislation would prohibit dangerous abortion drugs from being prescribed by mail or telemedicine.

Earlier, the governor emphasized the need for the new protections after the Biden administration got rid of safety regulations for the abortion drug mifepristone late last year. Unless states enact laws that say otherwise, abortion businesses now may sell abortion drugs through the mail without ever seeing or even talking to the woman.

Noem said she is working to protect both mothers and unborn babies through the legislation.

“We hope that this year’s March for Life will be the last and that the Supreme Court will finally protect every unborn life,” she said Friday. “But until that comes to pass, these bills will ensure that both unborn children and their mothers are protected in South Dakota.”

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

However, many hope Roe v. Wade could be overturned later this year after the high court heard a major abortion challenge from Mississippi in December. A ruling is expected in June.

According to Noem’s office, abortions have dropped by about 80 percent in South Dakota in the past 10 years. Last year, Noem signed eight pro-life bills into law, including a ban on abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome and a bill to protect children born alive in botched abortions.