The female patient will be required to make a third visit to the physician to receive the drug — Misoprostol — that causes expulsion of the fetus. She previously was allowed to take that drug at home.
The patient would still be required to make a first visit to give her consent, then return to receive the first drug, Mifepristone. The third trip would be 24 to 72 hours after receiving the Mifepristone.
The panel voted 4-2 after hearing from state Department of Health officials and three physicians, including Glenn Ridder and Michael Fiegen from Sioux Falls, who favored the restrictions; and from two opponents who are physicians, Planned Parenthood medical director Sarah Traxler of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Erica Schipper of Sioux Falls.
Thursday marked the second time the committee considered the rule. The panel deadlocked two weeks ago 3-3 when Senator Timothy Johns voted against it.
This time, the retired judge gave his approval. “There is statutory authority in my mind for the proposed rule,” Johns told the panel.
He said his role on the committee wasn’t to determine the wisdom of a proposed rule if it was reasonably related.
In this case, Johns said, the question was “really close.”
He said he normally has been reluctant to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship.
“I’m troubled by it. I truly am troubled,” Johns said.
Lawmakers who voted to let the rule move ahead were Representative Jon Hansen, Representative Kevin Jensen, Senator Jean Hunhoff and Johns. Trying to stop it were Senator Troy Heinert and Representative Ryan Cwach.
The governor’s legal counsel and interim chief of staff, Mark Miller, sat with the two physicians who supported the rule. The governor afterward issued a statement praising the committee’s decision.
She said South Dakota is now the only state in the nation to “protect the life of the mother to this extent.”
“Chemical abortions are four times as likely to cause a woman getting an abortion to end up in an emergency room – and we have a duty to protect the lives of those women,” Noem said. “I look forward to the day when the life of every unborn child is protected in South Dakota. Until then, South Dakotans will know that if a mother uses abortion pills to end her unborn child’s life, she will not get those pills from a stranger over the internet.”
The Planned Parenthood organization for South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota followed with a statement. “The rules committee is here to promulgate the rules, not enact laws. That didn’t happen today. A group of politicians decided to circumvent the law and make a safe and legal medical procedure more difficult in South Dakota,” said Kristin Hayward, manager of advocacy and development.