South Dakota legislative leaders aim for more laws around abortion in special session

South Dakota government leaders celebrated the end of abortion in South Dakota. But now, they say they want to see more laws brought on the topic, and find ways to make it easier to raise children in the state.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 7:40 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - With Friday’s United States Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion is now effectively illegal in South Dakota.

But many Republican leaders, including Governor Kristi Noem, want to see more done.

Shortly after the Roe was overturned Friday, Noem and state legislative leaders from both the House and the Senate sent out a press release, stating their intent to move forward with a special legislative session to further legislate around the topic of abortion.

“There have been some more informal conversations taking place between the Governor’s office, myself, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids). “Those so far have been very productive.”

Hansen has talked previously about his intentions to make South Dakota a more “pro-family state.” Specifically, he says he would like to see tax credits for families, and stricter rules around things like out of state abortion providers.

“There are some amendments around the trigger law that can be made to really bolster protections for unborn babies,” Hansen explained. “Make sure that we are taking care of mothers and fathers in unplanned pregnancies. All of those conversations are going to be had with the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office... I am really looking forward to working with everyone to make sure South Dakota remains the most pro-life state in the country.”

The effort to have a special session on the topic has the strong backing of Hansen’s counterpart in the Senate as well.

“A special session is necessary because we could not have known this winter during the regular session that we would have this opportunity,” Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) wrote in a release. “We have a new responsibility to protect lives presented by the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Governor Kristi Noem has said that she would like to make sure that families, particularly mothers, are cared for in a post-Roe South Dakota.

“We more than likely will go into a special session to address a few of our statue changes that may need to be updated,” Governor Kristi Noem told Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory. “I would really like for us to try and support mothers in a new way, that are in a crisis situation with an unplanned pregnancy. See what we can do to partner those mothers with churches, non-profits, and other healthcare organizations to address their needs.”

Leadership from both the State House and Senate say that there is still not a clear timeline as to when they would like to have the special session.

Related: Dems hope to harness outrage, sadness after abortion ruling

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