South Dakota legislators have approved the abortion pill restrictions that were established through executive order by Governor Kristi Noem in September. The restrictions require that women take the abortion pill only at a licensed abortion facility.
The state’s restrictions supersede the FDA’s recent decision to loosen regulations surrounding abortion pill distribution — something Noem intended when she issued her order. “They are working right now to make it easier to end the life of an unborn child via telemedicine abortion,” she said at the time. “That is not going to happen in South Dakota.”
The new legislative approval means that women seeking the abortion pill now need to make three separate visits to an abortion facility: one for an initial consult and then two more for the administration of the two abortion drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are taken up to 48 hours apart. This not only prohibits women from receiving these dangerous drugs through the mail, but it is also a change from the former procedure, in which women would take the first pill in the doctor’s office but complete the abortion with the second pill later, on their own at home.
Family physician Dr. Glenn Ritter agreed with the regulations, saying that they allow doctors to monitor women should anything go amiss. “We want to know what’s going on, so ethics would say that yes, we need to know where this woman’s at and if she’s undergoing something that she doesn’t have control over,” he said, according to the Argus Leader.
There is good reason for demanding better oversight for women who take the abortion pill. While abortion advocates tout it as safe, at least one study is showing that 6% of women who use the abortion pill suffer complications severe enough to warrant an emergency room visit — data which could mean tens of thousands of women each year. Other data indicates that abortion pill complications are severely underreported. Women who have taken the pill at home, alone, have described being in excruciating pain, experiencing very heavy bleeding and unbearable cramps, and more.
Noem praised the lawmakers’ decision in a statement. “Chemical abortions are four times as likely to cause a woman getting an abortion to end up in an emergency room – and we have a duty to protect the lives of those women,” she said. “I look forward to the day when the life of every unborn child is protected in South Dakota. Until then, South Dakotans will know that if a mother uses abortion pills to end her unborn child’s life, she will not get those pills from a stranger over the internet.”
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