Kristi Noem's Abortion Bill Mimics Texas Law, Has $10K Penalty for Those Aiding Procedure

On Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem revealed a new proposal aiming to ban all abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This legislation follows Texas' abortion law, which leaves enforcement up to private citizens instead of prosecutors and criminal charges, the Associated Press reported. Noem's proposed law would punish anyone aiding in an abortion with fines over $10,000 and makes no exception for rape or incest, although it stipulates that a man who commits such acts cannot sue.

Noem's proposal joins other anti-abortion measures, including an executive order blocking telemedicine abortions, that the governor has pushed in an effort for the state to have the "strongest pro-life laws in the books," the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

"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," Noem said in a Friday press release announcing the proposed abortion ban and a bill banning telemedicine abortions, which follows the governor's earlier executive order.

Some states' abortion bans have been blocked in courts, but the Texas law has remained partly since its enforcement is left to citizens, the AP added. In December, the Supreme Court returned the case to a federal appeals court, allowing it to remain in effect.

Jett Jonelis, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota's advocacy manager, said these restrictions violate constitutional rights, the AP reported, quoting a statement from Jonelis saying, "Personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties."

Kristi Noem Abortion Ban
On Friday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem released a new proposal aiming to ban all abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Above, Noem speaks as she campaigns for U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler during a campaign event outside Gritz Family Restaurant on January 3, 2021, in McDonough, Georgia. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement earlier in the week regarding fetal heartbeat legislation currently in the U.S. House.

"This bill violates the Constitution, will serve as outright ban on abortion for most women and will prohibit health care providers from providing ethical, necessary care to their patients," the statement read.

The ACOG's website says that safe and legal abortions are necessary elements for women's health, and decreasing access to legal abortions increases chances of complications.

On Wednesday, the ACLU of South Dakota and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in response to an abortion pill ban recently passed in South Dakota, the Argus Leader reported.

According to a press release on the Planned Parenthood website, the ban is "another medically unnecessary and burdensome restriction on abortion access in South Dakota."

"I understand and recognize that not everyone supports abortion access. However, South Dakotans deserve to choose what is best for them and their families—and adding unnecessary barriers to health care just doesn't make sense. The decision to have an abortion is deeply personal and should be left to patients and their doctors," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, in the online statement.