Judge Blocks South Dakota Gov Kristi Noem’s Pro-Life Rule Banning Mail-Order Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 9, 2022   |   1:39PM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

A federal judge extended her block Tuesday on a South Dakota rule that protects unborn babies and mothers from dangerous abortion drugs.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a pro-life Republican, created the rule late last year after the Biden administration began allowing dangerous abortion drugs to be sold through the mail without a doctor’s visit. However, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Noem.

In a ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier, a Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the rule, Keloland Media Group reports. Schreier’s ruling extends her previous order temporarily blocking the rule.

“Planned Parenthood has met its burden of establishing that the four factors for a preliminary injunction weigh in its favor,” the judge wrote.

Noem’s rule requires that abortion facilities give abortion drugs to the woman in person under the supervision of a medical professional. It 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.

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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. Under Noem’s new rule, however, 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.

Lawyers for the Planned Parenthood abortion chain said it cannot comply with the rule because its only abortionist flies into the state only twice a week, according to the report.

In a previous ruling, Schreier said the rule creates a “substantial obstacle” to women seeking abortions, and “Planned Parenthood and its patients [would] face irreparable harm” if the state enforces the rule.

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.

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.

The risks of the abortion drug are more common than what abortion activists often claim, with as many as one in 17 women requiring hospital treatment.

A recent study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits by women taking the abortion drug increased more than 500 percent between 2002 and 2015.

In the United Kingdom, government health data also 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.

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.