JSouth Dakota’s only abortion clinic says it is halting all procedures until the Supreme Court decides the future of Roe vs. Wade.
In an announcement that deeply saddened activists who had fought to defend access to abortion in one of the nation’s battlegrounds for reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood said the proceedings at its Sioux facility Falls were “suspended”. He said his clinics in Wisconsin are not taking appointments after June 25.
Meanwhile, the news was celebrated by deeply conservative South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, 50, who has been at the forefront of efforts to turn her state into one of America’s abortion deserts. America, and would have used his position to prepare for a White House. run in 2024.
“Although I knew it was coming, it was still really devastating,” said a 36-year-old activist, who asked to be identified as “Katie” (not her real name). The Independent.
“It was actually a lot worse than I think any of us thought it was going to be, just the emotional weight of it.”
In recent months, states like Texas and Mississippi, whose 15-week bans are being reviewed by the Supreme Court, and could end the removal of deerattracted media attention and caused public outcry.
Yet South Dakota, a plains state with a population of just 890,000 and a capital city, Pierre, which has long been a favorite for those asking questions for quizzes, has been for the past two decades a battleground for the efforts of the religious right. restrict and limit access to abortion.
As it stands, South Dakota is one of the most restrictive states, with women having to wait 72 hours and have two in-person consultations with a doctor, even for medical abortions.
Noem had sought to impose legislation similar to a Texas law banning all abortions upon detection of a fetal heartbeat, a move that was rejected by Republican lawmakers on tactical grounds.
Kamala Harris warns ‘much at stake’ if Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade
Nevertheless, abortion would become virtually illegal if deer is cancelled, because of an abortion ban from 2005 which would be triggered.
There would be no exception for incest rape; the only reason a woman could get an abortion was if a doctor deemed her to be life threatening.
“Abortion is technically legal in South Dakota and Missouri,” writes Robin Marty in New Handbook for a Post-Roe America.
“But in both cases, patients are encouraged or directly coerced into traveling to other states to obtain them.”
She adds, “That’s how deer is knocked down without anyone really noticing.
Katie, the activist who volunteers with a Sioux Falls-based group, the Justice Empowerment Network (JEN), says her group often advised women to drive to Colorado or Nebraska to get an abortion, especially if they lived in the center or west of the state.
“It may take a few more hours, but at least you’ll just have to make an appointment,” she says. State law prohibits the use of telemedicine for a woman to see her doctor.
Abortions in South Dakota have, for some time, been very limited in number. Reports suggest that in the five years from 2016 to 2020, 1,890 abortions were performed in South Dakota, which were reported to the Department of Health.
“There was a 10% drop in the abortion rate in South Dakota between 2014 and 2017, from 3.5 to 3.1 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age,” according to a report by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute
“Abortions in South Dakota represent 0.1% of all abortions in the United States.”
It is not difficult to understand why.
For nearly two decades, no doctor in South Dakota was prepared to perform an abortion, so Planned Parenthood brought in doctors from Minnesota or other states to perform the procedure.
Katie, the activist, says that when things were extremely tense in Sioux Falls, a doctor took to wearing a protective bulletproof vest, while the doors to the clinic are made of bulletproof glass.
One of the physicians who has repeatedly traveled from her Minneapolis-area home is Dr. Sarah Traxler, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood in a five-state area. She arrives by plane and meets a security guard at the airport.
Planned Parenthood says Traxler has stopped giving interviews since a leaked draft published by Politics hinted that the Supreme Court was ready to overturn deerthe 1973 judgment on which, for two generations, women have relied to access legal medical abortions.
“We were able to justify this because we’re willing to go to great lengths for our patients because they should have access to this care,” Traxler, 47, said recently. ToldThe rostrum of stars, Minnesota’s largest newspaper. “It’s safe, it’s legal, it should be everywhere.”
She said someone recently asked her if the situation was going to get that bad.
“I said yes,” she said, explaining that she had seen abortion opponents push back against access in other parts of the country, particularly in the South.
“I think I was kind of anticipating that day.”
Katie, the activist, says that during the pandemic, the situation at the Sioux Falls clinic has often gone “crazy.”
For more than a year, anti-abortion activists rented property near the clinic and set up benches and an altar there. In this makeshift church, they held services and said prayers that were sometimes broadcast over loudspeakers.
In December 2021, the chapel next to the clinic closed after complaints that it violated zoning laws.
Some of the activists belonged to a Catholic non-profit organization called Mission SOS. The group did not respond to inquiries.
Its website states “Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the primary purpose of saving the lives of unborn babies and shutting down Planned Parenthood in the Diocese of East River.”
He adds: “Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and under the protection of Mary Most Holy, we praise God in his goodness for all that he has accomplished up to now. May all unplanned families find refuge in The Unplanned Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The most sacred of unplanned families!
When Planned Parenthood said it was suspending producers in Sioux Falls, Noem tweeted, “Abortions have stopped in South Dakota. We prayed for this day, and now it is here.
She added: “Now we need to redouble our efforts to care for mothers in crisis. Help is available for you. Adoption is an option. You are never alone.”
She did not say whether more money would be available for children’s services, already strained in the case. His office did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Katie says she understands why Planned Parenthood had to suspend proceedings, as it could be unfair to women and staff.
Nevertheless, the time has come like a blow.
“I think we’ve been almost in denial so far,” she says.
“You’re just focused on what you’re doing right now, and you’re trying not to think about it happening.”