S.D. Republicans Decline to Consider Noem’s Abortion Bill Citing Harm to Ongoing Legal Battles

Associated Press/Photo by Mark Sherman (file) Staff members at the Informed Choices crisis pregnancy center in Gilroy, Calif.
Mark Sherman/AP

A bill proposed by Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem that would prohibit abortion after a heartbeat is detected was not taken up for consideration on Wednesday by a Republican-led committee, with members citing ongoing legal battles over the procedure.

The bill is modeled after a law in Texas that prohibits abortions after six weeks and includes allowing citizens to report those who violate it, including abortion providers.

The Hill reported on the S.D. House State Affairs Committee’s decision on the bill, which would have included a minimum $10,000 fine against an individual who assists others in getting an abortion, according to the Associated Press.

The Hill reported:

According to the AP, State House Speaker Spencer Gosch (R) said that while he agreed with Noem’s overarching objective of banning abortions, he could not get behind the language in the legislation because it would “jeopardize” the state’s stance in another legal conflict with Planned Parenthood, which is the state’s sole health clinic that provides abortions.

Planned Parenthood, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, filed a lawsuit last month challenging a new rule that would mandate that patients wait at least 24 hours before they can be given the second portion of a two-dose medication needed for a medication abortion, according to a statement from Planned Parenthood. The regulation would require that patients visit a health center on three separate occasions to receive an abortion.

Noem slammed the committee’s decision in a statement on Wednesday, writing, “Every single life is precious and deserving of our protection – but apparently South Dakota legislators think otherwise.”

“South Dakota deserved to have a hearing on a bill to protect the heartbeats of unborn children,” Noem said in the Hill report. “We can hear heartbeats at six weeks, but I’m disappointed this bill was not granted even one hearing.”

“I am as pro-life as can be, and because of that, I do not want to do something that will jeopardize our involvement in a court case that could abolish abortion in this country,” Gosch told the Argus Leader.

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