SD gov: Bar abortion pills, but don’t punish women for them

FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in this July...
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in this July 16, 2021, file photo in Des Moines, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, file)
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 2:21 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota’s Republican governor pledged on Sunday to bar mail-order abortion pills but said women should not face prosecution for seeking them.

In apparent defiance of legal guidance by the Justice Department after the Supreme Court last week stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, Kristi Noem indicated in national television interviews that she would put in place a plan approved by state lawmakers to restrict the pills. The majority ruling Friday by the court’s conservative justices triggered abortion bans in South Dakota and elsewhere.

But Noem said doctors, not their patients, would likely be prosecuted for knowing violations of what would be one of the strictest laws on abortion pills in the United States.

“I don’t believe women should ever be prosecuted,” she said. “I don’t believe there should be any punishment for women, ever, that are in a crisis situation or have an unplanned pregnancy.”

At issue is mail-order or so-called telemedicine abortion pills, which have been on the rise in the country since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone — the main drug used in medication abortions.

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