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28 Jun, 2022 03:05

US governor threatens abortion doctors with prosecution

South Dakota will not seek to punish women who have illegal abortions, the state’s governor said
US governor threatens abortion doctors with prosecution

South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, has said her state will target abortion doctors for prosecution after the US Supreme Courts' repeal of Roe v. Wade, but she insists that mothers won't face legal action.

Speaking to CBS on Sunday night, days after the Supreme Court overturned a landmark case underpinning federal abortion protections, Noem said the authorities in South Dakota are set to take on doctors and clinics offering the procedure, which is now illegal in the state.

“We’ll continue to have those debates on how we can support these mothers and what it means to really make sure we are not prosecuting mothers ever in a situation like this,” she said, adding “[Prosecution] will always be focused toward those doctors who knowingly break the law to perform abortions in our state.”

South Dakota was one among 13 states to pass ‘trigger laws’ prior to last week’s Supreme Court ruling, designed to take effect and ban most abortions should justices overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Those states now permit the procedure only when it would save the life of a pregnant mother, making no exceptions for rape or incest, and in South Dakota, abortions have been made a felony. 

Noem also said she would press to ban telemedicine conferences for abortions, as well as stopping clinics from prescribing abortion pills remotely, even after the US Department of Justice vowed to “work tirelessly” to ensure women continue to have access to such services.

While a number of Republican governors and lawmakers have voiced support for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, Democrats across the country, including President Joe Biden, have harshly condemned the decision, with the White House saying it made the United States “an outlier among developed nations.” The ruling also kicked off heated protests in Washington, DC and other cities over the weekend, some devolving into clashes with police.