UPDATE: A federal district court judge granted a preliminary injunction against a regulation that would have effectively eliminated access to medication abortion in South Dakota.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of South Dakota filed a lawsuit challenging a new rule from the South Dakota Department of Health, created at the direction of Gov. Kristi Noem, which would place yet another medically unnecessary and burdensome restriction on abortion access in South Dakota.
The rule would require patients to have to wait a minimum of 24 hours before they can receive the second of two medications necessary for a medication abortion. This would mean patients would have to visit a health center three separate times to have their abortion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) and their Medical Director, Dr. Sarah Traxler.
As the lawsuit explains, the rule violates the standard of care that has been in place for more than 20 years and the recommendations of leading medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. South Dakota will be the only state to require three visits for a medication abortion, making it one of the strictest regulations on medication abortion in the country.
Abortion restrictions disproportionately hurt those who already have the hardest time accessing quality health care — people with low-income, Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, people in rural communities, and patients suffering from intimate partner violence. An additional visit, on top of the already laborious two visits required by law, would delay care and potentially prevent some patients from receiving the care they need altogether.
The case, Planned Parenthood v. Noem, was filed in the Sioux Falls based Southern Division of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota. Because the challenged rule exposes the plaintiffs to immediate harm, they are asking the court to immediately stop the changes to the rule from going into effect.