South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) made an executive order that limits buying abortion medicine on Sept. 7.
The order lets women receive their abortion pills under certain conditions. Namely, they must consult with a licensed physician in-person to identify any potential complications.
Abortion medicine prescriptions from licensed physicians practising outside of South Dakota, will no longer be accepted across the Mount Rushmore State.
The South Dakota Department of Health will determine the criteria, which is widely expected to include meeting the state’s existing “surgical abortion clinic licensing requirements.”
The governor hopes the changes will prevent women being “coerced or sex trafficked and forced to take the pills.”
Abortion medicine can no longer be supplied via courier, delivery, telemedicine, or postal service. Patients will only be able to collect medicine directly from the doctor’s office.
Noem accused the abortion industry of targeting young women, manufacturers, suppliers, and physicians to offer medicine at schools, colleges, universities, and on state-owned land. None of this will be permitted to continue.
“South Dakota is a state that values life and prioritizes women’s health and safety above politics by basing public policy on science and data rather than political talking points,” she said in the order.
The Republican resorted to the measure after discovering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will no longer be responsible for acquiring abortion bills. This could result in an “increase in chemical abortions and resulting complications.”
The FDA eased limits on shipping abortion-inducing medicines via mail after declaring telemedicine services do not induce risk during April 2021. More restrictions are expected to be lifted in November the same year.
Noem has condemned the Biden administration for facilitating telemedicine abortions despite state law limitations. This would make it easier to perform abortions according to the Associated Press.
“They are working right now to make it easier to end the life of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion,” Noem said in a statement. “That is not going to happen in South Dakota.”
According to the South Dakota Department of Health, medication-induced abortions accounted for about 39% of terminated pregnancies in 2020. At least one clinic is known to conduct abortions on a regular basis in the state.
Pro-choice supporters claim rural residents will have to make a longer journey to seek licensed clinics for abortion pills.