Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 22, 2022

Today, the House Health and Human Services Committee advanced a bill that would codify a South Dakota Department of Health rule created at Gov. Kristi Noem’s request that would create medically unnecessarily restrictions on medication abortion in South Dakota.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1318.  

Medication abortion is safe and should remain accessible to all South Dakotans without undue burdens imposed by politicians,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “House Bill 1318 represents dangerous political interference and violates patients’ rights to liberty, privacy and equal protection as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution by imposing significant burdens on abortion access without proof of a valid medical justification. We will continue to challenge efforts contrary to our right to make our own medical care decisions.”

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of South Dakota filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Health’s rule in January. Earlier this month, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction and blocked the enforcement of that rule.  

In the ruling, the federal district court found that the Department of Health’s requirements are medically unnecessary, impose unnecessary medical risks and amount to a substantial obstacle for patients seeking medication abortion. The court also rejected the State’s argument that the regulation’s overarching purpose was patient health, noting that the FDA, an entity the State cited as authoritative on the subject, states that there is no medical reason for the challenged requirements under the regulation. 

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+ and Two Spirit 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.