South Dakota Judge Blocks Gov. Kristi Noem’s Rule Banning Webcam Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 27, 2022   |   11:01AM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota may not enforce a new rule protecting unborn babies and mothers from dangerous abortion drugs after a federal judge blocked the safety measure Wednesday.

Reuters reports U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier, a Clinton appointee, issued the order in response to a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The state Department of Health rule, which Gov. Kristi Noem created late last year, requires that abortion facilities give abortion drugs to the woman in person under the supervision of a medical professional.

Typically, abortion facilities give the first drug, mifepristone, to the woman in person and then send her home with the second drug, misoprostol, to take a day or two later. However, some now are selling the abortion drugs through the mail without ever even seeing the woman.

Under Noem’s new rule, a woman must make multiple visits to the abortion facility: first, for informed consent, second, for the first abortion drug, third, for the second abortion drug and fourth, for a follow-up to make sure the abortion is complete.

SUPPORT LIFENEWS! To fight abortion, please help with a donation!

In her ruling, Schreier said the rule creates a “substantial obstacle” to women seeking abortions and Planned Parenthood likely will succeed in its lawsuit. She also asserted that “Planned Parenthood and its patients [would] face irreparable harm” if the state enforces the rule.

Pro-abortion groups celebrated the ruling with claims that abortion drugs are “safe” and necessary for women to be free.

“The rule’s proposed changes to medication abortion are completely unsupported by medicine and would place an immense burden on patients,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Central States, DRG News reports. “Every person deserves the right to make their own decision about their body and their life. Medication abortion is safe and common, and South Dakotans deserve the freedom to make their own decisions about their health.”

Those suing to block the rule include Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of South Dakota, Michael Drysdale at Dorsey & Whitney on behalf of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) and its medical director, Sarah Traxler.

When Noem introduced the new rule, she emphasized the need to protect mothers and unborn babies after the Biden administration disregarded the dangers of the abortion drug mifepristone and began allowing abortion businesses to sell it through the mail without ever seeing the woman in person.

Noem pointed to studies that found a high rate of emergency room visits among women taking the drug.

Along with the in person requirements, the new rule also requires abortion facilities to inform women about the abortion pill reversal treatment and to report data about abortion drugs to the state health department.

Mifepristone is used to abort unborn babies up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. It blocks the hormone progesterone and basically starves the baby to death. For decades, the FDA required that abortionists provide the drug in-person after a medical examination because of its high risks. In December, however, the Biden administration got rid of the in-person requirement and began allowing the drug to be sold through the mail.

In response, a number of states took action or are taking action this year to protect women’s safety by banning mail-order abortions.

The FDA has linked the abortion drug to at least 24 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications between 2000 and 2018. However, under President Barack Obama, the FDA stopped requiring that non-fatal complications from mifepristone be reported. So the numbers almost certainly are much higher.

New data and studies suggest the risks of the abortion drug are much more common than what abortion activists often claim, with as many as one in 17 requiring hospital treatment.

A recent study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that abortion-related emergency room visits by women taking the abortion drug increased more than 500 percent between 2002 and 2015. Notably, they also found that abortion complications sometimes are miscoded as “spontaneous abortions,” or miscarriages.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, government health data shows a massive hospitalization rate due to abortion drugs after the government began allowing mail-order abortion drugs in 2020. According to the data, more than 10,000 women who received the abortion drugs by mail needed hospital treatment in 2020, or about one in 17 women.

Additionally, a 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in “Obstetrics and Gynecology” found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent for surgical abortions. Hemorrhages and incomplete abortions were among the most common complications.