Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against South Dakota on Thursday over the state moving to block the distribution of chemical abortion drugs through telemedicine.
South Dakota’s new abortion pill rule will require women seeking a chemical abortion to take both abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, in person at a licensed abortion clinic. This means that women will have to come back to the clinic after a waiting period to receive the second drug.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, introduced the rule in a September executive order.
The new rule is set to go into effect on January 27. It was finalized by a legislative interim rules review committee earlier this month.
The abortion pill rule also makes South Dakota the only state to require three clinic visits for a medication abortion. The state also requires waiting periods between all three visits.
Planned Parenthood’s Sioux Falls clinic is the sole abortion clinic in South Dakota.
Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit together with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.
“We are hopeful the court will stop this rule from going into effect so that South Dakotans can choose for themselves when and how to access health care services, including abortion,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States.
A spokesperson for the governor responded to Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, saying Noem is “focused on protecting women’s health” while “the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have shown that they are more worried about their bottom line.”
Pro-life advocates also responded to the lawsuit, saying the abortion giant’s motivation is profit rather than women’s health and safety.
“This lawsuit reveals Planned Parenthood’s true motive: increasing its profit margin, no matter the risks to the health and safety of women and girls,” said pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“Chemical abortion drugs, favored by the abortion industry for reducing their overhead costs, are dangerous and landing women in the hospital at an alarming rate,” Dannenfelser said. “Thankfully seven states including South Dakota have taken action to protect women and girls and more are considering it every day.”
The lawsuit was filed a day before the annual March for Life, which has taken place every year (the event was virtual last year) since Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
This year’s march comes amid renewed hope that legalized abortion could become obsolete or at least less permissible and widespread in the U.S.
A Supreme Court case moving through the court now, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could end in a decision to overturn Roe. The case involves a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
During oral arguments, the court’s six conservative-leaning justices appeared inclined to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban. A decision in the case is expected by late June.
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