Media Contact

Janna Farley,

July 19, 2023

State authorities need access to information about residents who obtain abortions or gender-affirming care in other states, according to a letter signed onto by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley and 18 other states attorneys general.

The letter calls on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to drop a proposed rule change that would prevent states from obtaining private health information “for a criminal, civil, or administrative investigation into or proceeding against any person in connection with seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive health care … outside of the state where the investigation or proceeding is authorized” and “is lawful in the state where it is provided.”

The protections proposed by the Biden administration are desperately needed to protect the privacy of vulnerable individuals and communities in South Dakota and beyond, the ACLU of South Dakota said.

The following statement can be attributed to Samantha Chapman, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager:

“There is a simple and chilling motivation behind this letter: keeping the door open for criminalizing people who seek abortions or gender-related care beyond state lines. People have a right to access abortion and gender-affirming care in states where it’s legal. We need clear legal protection to prevent hostile states from interfering with necessary health care nationwide.

“Whatever Attorney General Marty Jackley and this letter’s cosigners might say, it is not the government’s job to interfere with or investigate these personal and private matters. The government has no place inserting themselves between families and their doctors, whether the issue is reproductive care or medically necessary care for transgender youth.”

About the ACLU of South Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.