Noem wants to push anti-abortion argument to Supreme Court

November 29, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday sought a leading role in a pair of legal battles over abortion access as the U.S. Supreme Court neared a potentially defining moment on the issue.

The Republican governor promised that if the state loses an appeal in a legal fight over a state law that would require women seeking abortions to first consult with crisis pregnancy centers, which generally advise women not to get abortions, she would try to get the Supreme Court to consider the case. The case had laid dormant for nearly 10 years, but with the high court’s ideological make-up tilting to conservatives, Republicans are trying to get such cases before the justices.

Noem, who has positioned herself for a 2024 White House bid, has already signed on to a legal argument in a separate case the Supreme Court will hear Wednesday over Mississippi abortion restrictions.

“We have a couple of opportunities here to make a case to undermine and remove Roe v. Wade,” Noem said during a call with the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that opposes abortion rights.

A federal judge declined to lift a decade-old injunction on the South Dakota law this year, ruling that it would infringe on women’s rights to freedom of speech and access to abortion. Noem has appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and said she’s ready to appeal to the Supreme Court if that court doesn’t lift the injunction.

“This law was passed 10 years ago, and has been enjoined ever since because it is transparently unconstitutional,” said Dina Anderson, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.

South Dakota is one of 12 states that has enacted a so-called abortion trigger law that would take effect and ban all or nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturns its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which established the right to abortion nationwide up to the point where the fetus could viably survive outside the womb, which is typically around the 24th week of pregnancy.

In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who released a video message as part of the Susan B. Anthony List call, cast this week’s Supreme Court hearing as an opportunity for the justices to toss the abortion debate to state lawmakers. Such a move would ignite already fractious state-by-state battles.

“Here in Iowa, I’m not alone among elected leaders who are eager to finally have this overdue democratic debate and protect life,” she said.