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South Dakota governor issues executive order restricting access to abortion medicine

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday issued an executive order restricting abortion medications, requiring that they be picked up in person at a doctor’s office.

Kristi Noem holding a sign: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) addresses the North Carolina Republican Party Convention on June 5

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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) addresses the North Carolina Republican Party Convention on June 5

In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted restrictions on sending abortion-inducing medications through the mail, determining that sending the medicine remotely through telemedicine did not increase risk.


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In her executive order, Noem dictated that abortion-inducing medications such as mifepristone may be dispensed to a woman by a physician licensed in South Dakota only after an in-person examination. Data on the number of chemical abortions performed and any complications as well as information to indicate if the woman was “coerced or sex trafficked and forced to take the pills” will also be collected, per Noem’s order.

Her oder also says that no manufacturers, suppliers or physicians will supply abortion medications via telemedicine or mail service. They also cannot be provided in any school or on state grounds, including colleges and universities, with the South Dakota Republican claiming that the “abortion industry” is targeting young women.

Noem directed the South Dakota Department of Health to “develop an abortion clinic license specific to the pharmaceutical nature of medical abortion in keeping with South Dakota’s existing surgical abortion clinic licensing requirements.”

Noem noted that the FDA is expected to lift further restrictions on abortion medications beginning Nov. 1 and wrote, “The result is likely to be an increase in chemical abortions and resulting complications.”

“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,” Noem wrote in her order.

This move comes shortly after Texas passed a ban on abortions past six weeks, before most women even know that they’re pregnant. It is considered to be the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., allowing individuals to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks for up to $10,000 and legal fees.

The new law has been highly criticized for its extreme effects, with President Biden calling it “almost un-American.”

“I respect people who … don’t support Roe v. Wade. I respect their views. I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all. I respect that, don’t agree, but I respect that. Not going to impose that on people,” Biden said to reporters last week.

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