South Dakota Senate Committee Passes Bill to Help Save More Babies From Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 1, 2022   |   5:50PM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota lawmakers are close to passing a law that would require abortion facilities to provide direct medical supervision to mothers when they take abortion drugs to abort their unborn babies.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a pro-life Republican, proposed the legislation after President Joe Biden’s administration got rid of safety regulations for the abortion drug mifepristone late last year and began allowing abortion businesses to sell it through the mail.

KELO News reports the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-1 Monday to advance Noem’s pro-life bill, House Bill 1318. It now moves to the full Senate, where it appears likely to pass. The bill already passed the House.

The bill requires abortion facilities to provide the abortion drug mifepristone and a second drug, misoprostol, which is taken a day or two later to induce labor, to women in person by a doctor at an abortion facility.

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State Sen. Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford, defended the legislation during the committee meeting, saying it is “in the best interest of the mothers,” according to the report.

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 drugs through the mail without ever even seeing the woman.

Under Noem’s bill, a woman would 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.

Abortion activists with Planned Parenthood said such regulations would “place an immense burden” on women seeking abortions.

Pro-abortion groups also claim the abortion drugs are safe, but Noem pointed to studies that found a high rate of emergency room visits among women taking mifepristone.

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 restricting or banning abortion drugs.

The abortion drug mifepristone is used for more than half of all abortions in the United States, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. In 2020, the drug was responsible for 54 percent of all unborn babies’ abortion deaths, up from 39 percent in 2017, the pro-abortion research group found.

Though the report does not mention the exact number of abortions in 2020 due to the abortion drug, it likely is about half a million, based on a rough average of about 1 million abortions a year.

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. Another 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.

South Dakota also has a law in place that would ban abortions completely if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.