Governor Noem Changes His Mind About Special Session on Abortion Laws | Regional government

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Friday she had reversed her original plan to call a special legislative session this year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

When the Supreme Court’s decision was first released in May, Noem tweeted that she would “immediately call a special session to save lives” if Roe was overturned. South Dakota already had a trigger law that immediately banned abortions after the ruling was released in June.

Noem, who has since been cautious about the changing abortion policy landscape, is among leading Republican governors across the country navigating an issue that threatens to divide the party while giving Democrats a potential boost for the election year.

“Over the past several weeks, it has become clear that South Dakota is the most pro-life state in the country,” Noem said in a statement, pointing to a ban that allows a woman to have an abortion only if it saves her. life, as well as a website she started that directs pregnant women to state resources.

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Noem said she has the support of key lawmakers, as well as influential anti-abortion groups, to delay legislative action until next year.

For abortion rights advocates, the governor’s announcement brought little reassurance as they strategized to restore access to the procedure in South Dakota.

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said it would turn its attention to the November election and closely monitor the 2023 legislative session.

“Politicians who don’t believe in protecting the civil rights and liberties of their constituents have no business in the mansions of governors, in the offices of state attorneys general, or in state legislatures,” Libby said. Skarin, campaign manager for the ACLU, in a statement.

A group of contrarian Republican lawmakers, which recently organized as the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, criticized Noem’s change of plan. Earlier Friday, caucus chair Republican Rep. Aaron Aylward said an immediate special session was needed “to close the loopholes” in South Dakota’s abortion ban.

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