South Dakota is prepared to prosecute doctors who perform abortions in violation of state law after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said Sunday.
For years, the state had a “trigger law” on the books in case the Supreme Court struck down the so-called constitutional right to abortion established by the court’s 1973 ruling in Roe. When the court overturned Roe on Friday, that law went into effect, Noem told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
South Dakota’s law, which does not include exceptions for rape and incest, makes it a criminal offense to perform an abortion, the New York Post reported.
“What happened with the Supreme Court decision this week is that abortions in the state of South Dakota immediately became illegal unless it was to save the life of a mother,” Noem said on CBS.
“And so that was in place as soon as that decision was made. And what I believe will happen is that if we do go into a special session that there’ll be debate around how we can support these mothers.”
Noem noted that it is abortionists, not women in crisis, who will face criminal penalties under the law.
Policymakers will have continued discussions about “how we can support these mothers and what it means to really make sure that we’re not prosecuting mothers ever in a situation like this when it comes to abortion, that [prosecution] will always be focused towards those doctors who knowingly break the law to perform abortions in our state,” she said.
Later in the interview, in response to a question from Margaret Brennan, Noem made it clear that her pro-life stance means banning “telemedicine” abortions as well.
“South Dakota is one of 30 states that will limit access to telemedicine abortions, which allow patients to receive these pills in the mail that would allow them to end their pregnancy,” Brennan said. “The president has said he’s going to use the Justice Department to intervene here if there’s an attempt to stop women from receiving these pills. Are you prepared for that kind of legal battle?”
Noem indicated that she is.
“I brought a bill that would ban telemedicine abortions, which means a doctor of the internet or over the phone could prescribe an abortion for an individual because these are very dangerous medical procedures, a woman is five times more likely to end up in an emergency room if they’re utilizing this kind of method for an abortion,” she said.
“There are certain protections that are guarded under the Constitution of the United States. The rest of these items are left to the states, the 10th Amendment guarantees us that,” Noem added.
“What the Supreme Court said was that the Constitution does not give a woman the right to have an abortion. That means that in each state they will make the decision how they handle these situations, and in South Dakota we’ve already had a bill passed that set on telemedicine abortions, that we don’t believe it should be available, because it is a dangerous situation for those individuals without being medically supervised by a physician.”