State Watch

Judge stops Noem’s abortion pill rule change

A federal judge has blocked an executive order by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) that would have placed new  restrictions on procuring abortion pills, reports the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier on Wednesday granted a request from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of South Dakota to halt the South Dakota Department of Health rule, which would have gone into effect Thursday.

The rule would require those procuring abortions to visit a doctor’s office for both doses of drugs to induce abortion, which are taken hours or days apart, rather than receiving both drugs at one appointment. Women typically take the first pill at the appointment and take the second pill at home.

Schrier said that the rule “imposes an undue burden on a person’s right to seek an abortion.”

Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a statement the group was relieved by the decision. 

“The rule’s proposed changes to medication abortion are completely unsupported by medicine and would place an immense burden on patients,” she said. “Every person deserves the right to make their own decision about their body and their life.”

Noem said in a press conference Thursday that she will continue attempting to limit abortion medication.

“​​The reason we’re continuing to push it,” Noem said of the rule. “Is because it’s so dangerous for women to undergo this procedure.”

“They can literally get on the phone or online and request a prescription and undergo this medical procedure in their home with no supervision whatsoever,” she added. 

Two doctors opposed to abortion access made the same claims in a hearing for the rule in December, arguing that more physician interaction would promote the health of women seeking abortions.

The drugs used for medicated abortion were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. There have been 26 deaths associated with the practice reported by the FDA since its approval, though some involved existing health conditions and other factors.

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