The law, which cleared the state House and Senate in recent weeks, would make South Dakota one of the hardest places in the country to get abortion drugs, requiring pregnant women to make at least three separate trips to a clinic to obtain abortion medication.
“South Dakota will continue to advance legislation that protects the lives of unborn children,” the Republican governor said in a statement Wednesday.
Republican lawmakers in mostly GOP-led states, such as Alabama and Iowa, have repeatedly championed legislation banning or restricting medication abortion. Supporters of the South Dakota law say the legislation is necessary to protect the health of the woman and to prevent misuse of the drugs, but abortion rights advocates have argued that the measure imposes unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.
Current state law allows for the medication abortion process to begin 72 hours “after the physician physically and personally meets with the pregnant mother,” except in medical emergencies, and usually requires only one more visit to a licensed facility to receive the necessary drugs.
But the new law, like the state rule, requires that women receive both drugs used in a medication abortion in person at a licensed abortion facility, and bars them from receiving the pills in the mail. The law also makes it a Class 6 felony for a person practicing medicine without a state license to prescribe the drugs for a medication abortion.
They take the mifepristone pill at a clinic and are instructed to take the misoprostol pill at home a day or two later.