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With Texas as model, Noem seeks more abortion restrictions

September 3, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this July 16, 2021 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Gov. Noem is seeking to pass tougher abortion restrictions in South Dakota, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a law banning most abortions in Texas to go forward. Noem said on social media that she wants to look at the laws and make sure South Dakota's abortion restrictions are the strongest.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall File)
FILE - In this July 16, 2021 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Gov. Noem is seeking to pass tougher abortion restrictions in South Dakota, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a law banning most abortions in Texas to go forward. Noem said on social media that she wants to look at the laws and make sure South Dakota's abortion restrictions are the strongest.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall File)
FILE - In this July 16, 2021 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Gov. Noem is seeking to pass tougher abortion restrictions in South Dakota, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a law banning most abortions in Texas to go forward. Noem said on social media that she wants to look at the laws and make sure South Dakota's abortion restrictions are the strongest.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem wants to pass tougher abortion restrictions in South Dakota, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Texas law banning most abortions in that state to go forward.

The Texas law, which took effect Wednesday, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision to leave the pro-life (Texas) law in place, I have directed the Unborn Child Advocate in my office to immediately review the new (Texas) law and current South Dakota laws to make sure we have the strongest pro life laws on the books in (South Dakota),” Noem said in a statement on social media Thursday.

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Women in South Dakota are currently barred from terminating a pregnancy after 22 weeks. Noem has previously told the Argus Leader that she wants to ban abortions completely, with no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Republican states that have passed increasingly tough abortion restrictions have seen many of their efforts blocked by federal courts. But many are now looking at the Texas law and its unusual approach as a model.

The Texas law authorizes private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone involved in aiding an abortion, including someone who drives a woman to a clinic. The law is being challenged by Planned Parenthood and other groups.

Mark Miller, an attorney and legal advisor in the governor’s office, has the role of “Unborn Child Advocate” in Noem’s office and handles lobbying efforts related to abortion laws, the Argus Leader reported.

Should Noem successfully push through a six-week abortion ban like in Texas, it’s likely more litigation would follow.

Planned Parenthood characterizes efforts to move to a six-week abortion ban as a “blatantly unconstitutional attack.” And the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has vowed to push back against more abortion restrictions.

“We’ve been fighting off attacks against women’s reproductive rights in South Dakota for a long time and that’s not something that’s going to stop,” said Janna Farley, a spokeswoman for the ACLU in Sioux Falls.

During the 2021 legislative session, the South Dakota Legislature passed five separate measures restricting abortion rights, including one prohibiting a Downs Syndrome diagnosis as justification for terminating a pregnancy.