South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Pro-Life Bill Banning Mail-Order Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2022   |   6:05PM   |   Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem today signed into law a pro-life bill that bans mail-order abortions.

The new law would require abortion facilities to provide direct medical supervision to mothers when they take abortion drugs to abort their unborn babies and prevents the sales of such drugs by mail that kill babies and kill or injure mothers as well.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a pro-life Republican, proposed the legislation after 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. After proposing legislation to restore the pro-life rule, the South Dakota legislature approved it.

“The two bills that I am signing today are crucial, because they are also protections for mothers,” Noem wrote in a statement. “We must remember that abortion has two victims: both the unborn child who loses their life and the mother who must go through the physical and emotional trauma of the procedure.”

The new law 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.

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.

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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.

But Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the South Dakota Legislature and condemned Biden’s move to weaken longstanding federal safety regulations against mail-order abortion drugs designed to protect women from serious health risks and potential abuse. The Biden administration policy allows for dangerous at-home, do-it-yourself abortions without necessary medical oversight.

She told LifeNews:

“We are proud to stand with Governor Noem, the South Dakota Legislature, and all our local allies working tirelessly to safeguard women and children. Under Noem’s leadership, South Dakota has achieved a record low abortion rate and continues to set a standard for what a pro-life America looks like. The permanent protections enacted today are vital to stop the proliferation of dangerous mail-order abortion drugs, which puts both unborn children and their mothers at serious risk. Pushed by the profit-driven abortion industry and the Biden administration, these drugs are sending women to the emergency room at a rate that has increased more than 500% since the early 2000s. We thank Gov. Noem, the legislature, and all pro-life South Dakotans for taking swift action to fight back.”

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.