The 2022 Legislative Session begins today, and we are already fighting for South Dakotans’ essential rights. Before session even began, politicians were attacking safe, legal abortion and the LGBTQ+ community. Now today, Governor Kristi Noem announced her plans to introduce a law banning abortion after six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant.
We cannot let our legislators advance a narrow ideology that does not reflect the will of South Dakotans. Your advocacy in the coming months is key to protecting fundamental rights in our state.
Here are some of the attacks we expect to see this year from Governor Noem and hostile politicians:
Abortion restrictions and bans
Abortion is still safe and legal in South Dakota, but accessing it is already incredibly difficult because of several unnecessary restrictions keeping patients from the care they deserve.
Last week, the South Dakota Legislative Rules Review Committee, under the direction of Governor Kristi Noem, made it more difficult for South Dakotans to access medication abortion. The committee passed new rules requiring a medically unnecessary third visit to an abortion provider. This is the strictest medication abortion restriction in the country—and completely unnecessary. Medication abortion is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy and the FDA recently approved prescribing medication abortion virtually.
South Dakotans deserve the right to make health care decisions that meet their personal needs and interests.
Abortion access is also at risk due to the conservative majority at the U.S. Supreme Court. South Dakota has a “trigger law” in place, meaning if federal abortion rights are eliminated, abortion would immediately be banned in the state. Many fear abortion access will be decimated when the court rules on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – a case that could roll back or overturn the right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade.
State legislators obsessed with banning abortion aren’t waiting for a ruling. They’re also eyeing other ways to restrict abortion out of existence for South Dakotans; their eyes have turned to Texas. Last fall, Texas enacted S.B. 8, a law banning abortion after six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant. S.B. 8 has not been stopped by the courts. Legislators determined to ban abortion across the country have been emboldened and are declaring they will copy the law in their own states. Governor Kristi Noem announced her plans to introduce a ban on abortion after six weeks in today’s State of the State address—we’ll keep watch to see if more elements from the Texas bill are copied from her legislation.
Abortion bans impact real lives. They exasperate health inequities, causing the most harm to people of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas. Many South Dakotans already lack the means to obtain necessary reproductive health care. Traveling out of state isn’t an option.
Planned Parenthood North Central States is committed to finding ways to provide abortion care for South Dakotans, no matter what. And while they proudly provide essential care, we’ll fight every attack against reproductive freedom that comes our way.
Targeting trans youth in South Dakota
In the lead up to the 2022 session, legislators also proposed two different bills that target and attack trans youth. H.B. 1005 would ban transgender youth from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. H.B. 1006 would ban transgender girls and women from participating in school sports. To enforce these laws, cisgender students and their families would be encouraged to sue school districts that do not abide by these rules.
Transgender youth, like other students, deserve the same chances to learn, thrive, and build a sense of belonging with their peers. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
While Planned Parenthood North Central States focuses on providing welcoming, compassionate trans health care, the Action Fund will be supporting our partners in this fight, including ACLU and Transformation Project. Be sure to connect with them to stay informed on issues facing LGBTQ+ Iowans.
Together, we must fight for a better South Dakota. Your support and fierce advocacy this session will help protect the rights of South Dakotans. Here are ways to get involved:
- Stay tuned into emails and social for action alerts.
- Contact your legislators to voice your opposition to attacks on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ South Dakotans. Send an email today opposing Governor Kristi Noem’s proposed abortion ban.
- Share your story. Speaking out about your experience is essential in showing politicians that their policies affect real people.
With your help, we will make our voices heard to build a better future for all South Dakotans. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund will continue working to protect access to sexual and reproductive health care for everyone in our region. We hope you’ll join us!