Media Contact

Janna Farley,

March 2, 2022

Today, Senate lawmakers passed House Bill 1318, legislation 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.

“It’s clear that some of our lawmakers aren’t concerned about the rights and well-being of pregnant people. If they were, they would expand access to quality reproductive health care instead of restricting it,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Medication abortion is safe, common and essential health care. South Dakotans deserve the right to make their own personal decisions about their lives and futures without politicians getting in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship.”

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 South Dakota law, would delay care and potentially prevent some patients from receiving the care they need altogether.

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. 

A copy of the ACLU of South Dakota’s letter urging senators to oppose House Bill 1318 is below.

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.