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South Dakota readies for state-lines abortion access fight

May 3, 2022 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s anti-abortion lawmakers and the state’s only abortion provider are poised to turn their fight to accessing abortion over state lines if the U.S. Supreme Court follows through on a draft opinion that overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.

A decision to overrule Roe would trigger a 2005 law that outlaws abortions in the state.

That would not be enough for Gov. Kristi Noem. The Republican governor promised on Twitter late Monday that she would call a special legislative session if Roe is overturned. Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury declined to discuss her reasoning, saying only that her tweet “speaks for itself.”

However, Republican Rep. Jon Hansen suggested a special session could be used to “bolster” the state’s trigger law, including helping “make sure pregnant mothers are protected from being pressured or coerced across state lines to have their babies’ lives terminated.”

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Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood North Central States, which operates the state’s only clinic that regularly provides abortions, had been preparing for months by planning how to help abortion seekers travel to states where the procedure is legal.

But Sarah Stoesz, president of the organization, worried that a state-by-state approach would disproportionately endanger some women.

“An abortion ban is not an abortion ban for all people. It is only an abortion ban for those who lack the means to travel to a state where abortion is safe and accessible,” she said. “And that is one of the true moral outrages of this situation.”