Rep. Steven Haugaard, Gov. Kristi Noem’s main challenger, hopes to ban the use of drugs commonly used in medical abortions and impose penalties on potential law breakers.
The measure narrowly passed the House Health and Human Services Committee Thursday morning with a 7-6 vote. law.
An abortifacient chemical drug is defined in the text of the bill as “mifegyne, mifeprex, mifepristone and any other pharmaceutically equivalent drug”.
Continued:Injunction blocks abortion pill restriction in South Dakota
A new section would classify the performance or attempt of abortion using any chemical drug and the distribution, distribution, distribution, manufacture, prescription, sale or transfer of any chemical abortion drug as a class 6 felony.
That means violators of the proposed law could face up to two years in the state penitentiary or a $4,000 fine, or both, depending on South Dakota law.
National life advocacy groups like Students For Life Action, who testified as supporters at the committee hearing and worked to “protect women and children from chemical abortion” in South Dakota , applauded the total ban on the abortion pill, according to a Liberation press.
Continued:Republican leaders reject Governor Kristi Noem’s proposal to ban fetal heartbeat abortion
Kristi Hamrick, chief media and policy strategist at SFL Action, said in an emailed statement to the Argus chief that “because the FDA has recently and recklessly lowered health and safety standards for pills chemical abortifacients, it is up to heads of state to do the job of protecting women and their unborn children.
“Today, 54% of all abortions are performed with pills before 9 weeks, with a much higher rate of complications and hospitalization than surgical abortion,” Hamrick said in the email. “Even if you support abortion – and Students for Life Action does not – that is no reason to allow women and unborn children to be sacrificed to the corporate interests of Big Abortion Pharma.”
And while SFL Action celebrated the coming together of a “post-Roe America,” abortion rights advocates were frustrated by yet another restriction on abortion access in South Dakota.
Continued:Planned Parenthood and ACLU of South Dakota File Lawsuit Against Noem’s Abortion Pill Ban
“South Dakota lawmakers are banning medical abortion due to a wave of misinformation,” said Kristin Hayward, advocacy and development manager for Planned Parenthood South Dakota Action Fund. “Medical abortion is safer than Tylenol. It is common and essential health care for those who choose it, and many pregnant women in South Dakota require medical abortion every year.”
The rule parallels a similar anti-abortion law announced by Noem last month that restricts access to the administration of abortion pills, which must take place in person at Planned Parenthood, a licensed abortion center.
Continued:How will South Dakota enforce Noem’s new abortion pill ban? What do you want to know.
Noem’s abortion rule change originally came out of an executive order and was supposed to go into effect Jan. 27, but was blocked by a federal judge. Planned Parenthood is in court with Noem to challenge this change.
But Noem’s legislation does not completely ban drugs commonly used in medical abortion.
Haugaard and the co-sponsors of the proposed bill were not immediately available for comment.
Email human rights journalist Nicole Ki at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @_nicoleki.