On Friday, Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) announced two pro-life bills as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life protest.
The governor’s office announced the pieces of legislation, with one bill seeking to ban abortions once a child’s heartbeat can be detected, and another looking to ban telemedicine abortions in the state.
“Every human life is unique and beautiful from the moment it is conceived. Every life is worthy of our protection, worthy of the right to live,” said Governor Noem. “We hope that this year’s March for Life will be the last and that the Supreme Court will finally protect every unborn life. But until that comes to pass, these bills will ensure that both unborn children and their mothers are protected in South Dakota.”
The office noted, “Governor Noem previewed her heartbeat legislation last year when she directed her Unborn Child Advocate to review South Dakota laws and ensure that we have the strongest pro-life laws on the books in South Dakota.” Last year, Noem blocked telemedicine abortions through an executive order. She also signed eight pieces of pro-life legislation into law.
The announcement also noted that over the past ten years, “abortions have declined by approximately 80% in South Dakota.”
Governor Noem tweeted about the two bills on Friday, stating, “Today, as tens of thousands of pro-life Americans participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, I am announcing two pro-life bills. One will ban abortions once a child’s heartbeat can be detected. The second will ban telemedicine abortions in South Dakota.”
Today, as tens of thousands of pro-life Americans participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, I am announcing two pro-life bills.
One will ban abortions once a child's heartbeat can be detected.
The second will ban telemedicine abortions in South Dakota.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) January 21, 2022
The draft legislation of the heartbeat bill stated that it is an act “to prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable.” It also appears to closely mirror Texas’s heartbeat legislation, with the ability of private individuals — who do not represent the state — to bring civil action against someone who:
1) Performs or induces an abortion in violation of any provision or requirement of this 8 chapter;
(2) Knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of 10 an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of any provision or requirement of this chapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this chapter; or
(3) Intends to engage in the conduct described by subdivisions (1) or (2).
The draft legislation of the telemedicine abortion act noted that it is “[a]n Act to prohibit medical abortion by telemedicine, to provide a penalty thereof, to increase the penalty for the unlicensed practice of medicine when performing a medical abortion, and to declare an emergency.”
The Texas Heartbeat Act, which effectively outlaws abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy when fetal cardiac activity can be detected, has drawn major attention and rulings from the Supreme Court over the past year. As The Daily Wire previously reported, “The Texas law allows citizens to sue abortion providers and those who ‘aid and abet’ illegal procedures for a financial reward if the lawsuit is successful.”
On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court rejected yet another move by abortion providers in the midst of ongoing litigation over Texas’ pro-life heartbeat law.
In an unsigned, brief order, the high court essentially allowed the Texas law to stay in effect by denying a petition by abortion providers to send their challenge back to a lower court. The decision is thought to be an action that will lengthen the litigation process.
The Supreme Court also heard arguments regarding the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in December. A decision on the case could overturn prior abortion precedent in the country and return the ability to determine their own abortion laws back to the states.