Sep 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

South Dakota governor issues order curbing abortion medicine access

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference  in Dallas, Texas, in July.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference  in Dallas, Texas, in July. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed an executive order on Tuesday requiring abortion medications to be picked up from a doctor's office.

The big picture: The move comes on the heels of Texas' near-total ban on abortion and other Republican lawmakers pledging to follow suit.

Details: The order mandates that abortion medications can only be dispensed in a doctor's office and require a medical exam.

  • Noem's move cuts off access to abortion services via tele-health, an option that became essential during the pandemic. South Dakota has only one abortion clinic, according to online registries.
  • State law prohibits abortions for women who are beyond 22 weeks gestation. However, Noem's order effectively bars abortions for residents without means to travel long distances for the procedure.

The bottom line: Anti-abortion lawmakers are taking the U.S. Supreme Court's silence on Texas' six-week abortion ban as a green light to cut back access to reproductive healthcare services.

Editor's note: This headline has been updated to correct that Noem is governor of South Dakota.

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