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Tipsheet

Noem Unveils Proposal to Ban Almost All Abortions

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, unveiled a proposal on Friday to ban nearly all abortions in the state. Noem’s proposed legislation mimics a Texas law that banned abortions after fetal heartbeat detection. 

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CBS News reported Friday that the law would prohibit abortions in South Dakota once medical professionals can detect fetal heartbeat activity. This occurs around six weeks gestation. Noem’s law would punish individuals who aid someone in getting an illegal abortion with a $10,000 penalty. 

Noem's proposed legislation replicates components of S.B. 8, Texas’ law that bans abortions after fetal heartbeat activity and empowers private citizens to sue individuals who provide an illegal abortion or aid or abet someone seeking an illegal abortion. Those who successfully bring lawsuits under S.B. 8 can receive $10,000.

CBS’ report states that the Texas law has been criticized as creating a “vigilante justice system.”

“South Dakota has just one clinic that regularly offers abortions, but Noem's proposed restrictions, which also include one of the nation's strictest limitations on access to abortion pills, would wipe out nearly all abortion access in the state. Just 10 women in South Dakota received an abortion during their first six weeks of pregnancy in 2020, the most recent year for which data was available from the state's Department of Health.

Noem said in a statement that she was hoping the Supreme Court would strike down Roe v. Wade - the 1973 landmark decision that established a nationwide right to an abortion. South Dakota has a law that would outlaw abortions if that happened.

The governor added, ‘But until that comes to pass, these bills will ensure that both unborn children and their mothers are protected in South Dakota.’"

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A current Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, pertains to a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. Dobbs could overturn landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Supreme Court heard Dobbs oral arguments on Dec. 1 and a decision is expected next summer. 

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