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SD Rule Would Prohibit Taking Abortion Pill at Home

Last week the Food and Drug Administration made permanent a pandemic-era change that allows women to receive abortion drug mifepristone by mail. This easing of government regulation of health care should be good news for rural women:

Doctors like Nisha Verma said this mail option has been particularly helpful for women in rural areas far from the nearest clinic.

“I think that makes it much more accessible for people where they don’t actually have to physically come into a clinic, they don’t have to expose themselves to COVID, they can do this all from the comfort of their home,” said Verma, an OB-GYN and abortion provider based in Washington, D.C. [Sarah McCammon and Jonathan Franklin, “FDA Relaxes Controversial Restrictions on Access to Abortion Pill by Mail,” NPR: All Things Considered, 2021.12.16]

Keenly interested in preventing any expansion of women’s freedom and medical good sense, the South Dakota Legislature’s Rules Review Committee will get together a week from today, December 27, to consider approving a new Department of Health rule that would prohibit the use of mifepristone and its follow-up drug misoprostol anywhere but in a licensed abortion facility, which in South Dakota means three places: Monument Health in Rapid City or Sanford Medical Center or Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls.

The Department of Health claims this rule will “protect the health and safety of women.” As usual, the Department isn’t looking at science—mifepristone is safer for women than Viagra is for men:

Experts have long held that the requirement was medically unnecessary. “The risks of mifepristone are just totally independent of the regulatory burdens the FDA placed on the drug,” says Greer Donley, assistant professor at the University Pittsburgh Law School, who has studied FDA policy. “Even though it has risks, it’s not risky by any means compared to other drugs that are on the market without any REMS [risk evaluation and mitigation strategy].”

The fatality rate for the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, for example — which is not subject to REMS — is six times higher than mifepristone’s. According to the ACLU, which represented the plaintiffs in the case, mifepristone was the single medication — out of 20,000 FDA-approved drugs — that required patients pick it up at a medical facility, regardless of where they ultimately took the drug [Tessa Stuart, “FDA Drops Restrictions on Abortion Pill, Paving the Way for ‘Virtual’ Clinics in Some States,” Rolling Stone, 2021.12.16].

If South Dakota has a compelling interest in making sure women take mifepristone under a doctor’s watchful eye, then it has an even greater interest in requiring that fragile, aging men seeking nookie take their boner pills under similar surveillance. But evidently men can take care of themselves; only women require the careful intervention of government to protect them from their own health care decisions.

The Rules Review Committee meets Monday, December 27, at 10 a.m. Central in Room 414 of the Capitol in Pierre. They will take remote testimony on this proposed rule, but people wishing to testify must register by the end of today by emailing Include your name, whom you represent, city of residence, which rule you’ll be addressing, whether you support or oppose the rule, and whether you will testify remotely or in person.


  1. mike from iowa 2021-12-20

    One moar gratuitous undue burden dumped upon women exercising their constitutional right to reproductive choice. magats just can’t help themselves when it comes to interfering in women’s lives. Shame on them sonsabiscuits!

  2. O 2021-12-20

    Will the rule also require the biological father to accompany woman to the clinic?

  3. jerry 2021-12-20

    Ladies, the republican party hates you. They hate you with a passion from the time you’re born, they only see you as “earthen vessels”.
    The War on Drugs, sad, but laughable. There will always be a way for any drug, anywhere to be purchased and used. Find a good dealer, like your friend from another state, and there ya go.

  4. 96Tears 2021-12-20

    There is loads of stupid among state legislators in our state as well as unbridled misogyny and cowardice. But let’s start with bucket loads of stupid. How can this be enforced? State government has zero control over the U.S. Postal System. The Morality Squad isn’t able to patrol our mailboxes. The Thought Police can’t stop us from requesting the prescription. What happened to the interstate commerce clause?

  5. larry kurtz 2021-12-20

    Like the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe has done it’s time to test South Dakota’s jurisdiction over tribal medical professionals who establish clinics that provide medical care on non-contiguous off-reservation parcels as islands of health care that skirt state law.

  6. Loren 2021-12-20

    The GQP fixation of getting into your bedroom, underwear, uterus, bathroom… seems just a bit kinky for these “conservative” incel MAGATs!

  7. jerry 2021-12-20

    What about NOem’s girls? Does this rule apply to them? Of course not or to any others who have money and position. This only targets poor and middle income women and girls.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-12-20

    Along 96 Tears reasoning, interference with US Mail used to get the James gang hung.

  9. mike from iowa 2021-12-20

    Mr Bill, there is the usual paywall for reading NYT articles.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-12-20

    I find this rule pretty stupid, because it’s largely unenforceable, besides being unconstitutional. The people supporting it are hypocrites. South Dakota has weak laws and rules regulating chemicals that cause fetal death and affect fetal development. If they want to do something to protect fetal life, toughen up a lot of the regulations on water quality, ag and pest chemicals.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-12-20

    By passing laws that don’t mean anything, SD solidifies it’s position as a state that doesn’t mean anything.

    By passing laws that are fully on the wrong side of history, SD solidifies it’s position as a state continually 35 years behind and embedded on the wrong side of history.

    But, as the two above assertions show, who in moderate states gives a damn what South Dakota does. Most can’t find it or even care where it is.

  12. Mark Anderson 2021-12-20

    Smart women who are able will leave the red rural states and further the economics of the blue. It’s simply a matter of time and the future is coming.

  13. Bill McClellan 2021-12-20

    It looks like the American Taliban is alive and well in south Dakota.

  14. Bob Newland 2021-12-20

    Mike, it’s “more,” not “moar.”

  15. larry kurtz 2021-12-20

    In red states freedom’s just another word for nothing left to choose.

  16. Eve Fisher 2021-12-20

    “In red states freedom’s just another word for nothing left to choose.”
    Larry – that’s brilliant, and I’m going to share it widely.

  17. O 2021-12-20

    Larry, I am SO stealing that one!

  18. jerry 2021-12-20

    What’s the point anyway, we have a child care crisis in South Dakota. Thune and Rounds need to step up and vote with the Democrats on the BBB to get the needed childcare in South Dakota… or else, shut the hell up about all this abortion nonsense. We can’t take care of what we have little alone forced childbirth. One of the most glaring problems with our two senators is that they are both absent from the reality of the state. Too busy looking at their belly buttons to see the issues of real people here, the workers and the lack of them.

  19. O 2021-12-20

    Jerry, Biden doesn’t need Thune and Rounds to scuttle the BBB, his “own party” is doing that for them.

  20. John Dale 2021-12-20

    Don’t want to have kids?

    Don’t have sex.

    And don’t adopt.

    Selection of an age of the human (conception forward) as criteria is arbitrary will will make all aspects of life on Earth hell.

  21. larry kurtz 2021-12-20

    1. A pregnant woman is the patient.

    2. Ectopic pregnancies kill women.

    3. Rich women have full reproductive rights while women at the lower income margins suffer chilling effects on those rights. Women in Texas, Wyoming and South Dakota who can afford it simply jump on a plane and fly to Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Denver or elsewhere for their procedures. Imagine a woman on the Standing Rock or Pine Ridge doing that.

    4. South Dakota’s repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care are not only mean-spirited, they’re discriminatory anti-choice extremism.

    5. “Pro-life” is simply code for white people breeding. African-Americans terminate pregnancies at about the same per capita rate as white people do but don’t take their jobs. Latinas, however, have fewer abortions per capita but the extreme white wing laments it’s hemorrhaging jobs to Latinos.

    6. No foetus in the United States has any civil rights until the third trimester. Republicans preach civil rights for human zygotes but deny the protections of the First, Fourth and Ninth Amendments to people who enjoy cannabis.

    7. Ending reproductive rights in red states is Balkanizing women’s medical care.

    8. An acorn is not an oak tree so a foetus is no more an unborn child than it is an unborn grandparent.

  22. Mark Anderson 2021-12-20

    Nice to see the no sex John back isn’t it? At least he’ll never have alzheimers.

  23. Mark Anderson 2021-12-20

    O, Manchin is watching out for his corporate brothers plus he believes that the child credit is spent on drugs. Idiocy isn’t by party alone, although the pubs seem to be attracting more than their fair share.

  24. bearcreekbat 2021-12-20

    Don’t want kids? Then don’t get yourself raped or otherwise sexuallly abused by a relative.

    Want kids? Don’t have any unforeseen serious problems with the pregnancy.

    Simple solutions for other people’s unfortunate circumstrances.

  25. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-12-20

    Gah! Thanks for pointing out John Dale’s return, Mark. His entry is brief (for him) but as meaningless as ever. Makes me wonder if there was a cerebroevascular event (STROKE) in the John Dale fantasy world.
    I recently started receiving a few hundred dollars a month from the SSA, and the first thing I did was ring the tip jar; the second was research the best organization to donate to help women avoid and terminate unwanted pregnancies. Please do the same, gentlemen.

  26. larry kurtz 2021-12-20

    Mr. Dale makes Sibby seem like a yogi.

  27. DaveFN 2021-12-20

    Has Sartre been getting under Noem’s skin? He maintained we are condemned to be free: no one can choose to not have choices.

    Noem takes it as a mandate in the case under discussion to choose for us to not have choices.

    Yet at other times she agrees with Sartre and says we are free to choose (to wear masks or not, get vaccinated or not…).

    She is truly conflicted, and it trickles down to South Dakotans.

  28. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-20

    Barefoot, Pregnant, in the kitchen, and ready to do the boot scootin boogie, on demand. Republican women must concur.

  29. V 2021-12-21

    Cory, thank you for saying what I couldn’t as you have such a way with words.

    I hate hearing commercials for “boner pills” as you call them and crooked penis syndrome. I have no empathy for guys that can’t have sex. Isn’t that what the John Dales of the world are telling us. Don’t get pregnant, don’t have sex. How ridiculous!

    I think people have been doing this since the beginning of time John Dale. And women have been practicing birth control and abortive measures as long. You should take a women’s history class to learn about those who birthed 11 or 15 kids at home with a midwife while the old man was out at the pub. No men involved except for siring. In this country, women’s health is a total control issue, no way around it.

    Boner pills are inexpensive, pregnancy and rearing kids is not.

  30. TG 2021-12-21

    It should be noted that Mifepristone is often a combined pill of Mifepristone and Misoprostol. If the state regulates these drugs, it effectively prevents medical care using these drugs for other medical necessities and denies women appropriate medical care. Essentially, the proposed law would cause a woman to be denied safe, proven, and effective pharmaceuticals simply because she is a woman, even if the pharmaceutical is used for non-abortive purposes. That is disparate medical care based on sex.

    Wondering……would this violate federal law by placing an undue burden on women? Essentially this state law would violate a women’s fundamental right to heath care and would place an undue burden on her., especially since the state would not be be able to show a compelling governmental interest in limiting her access to that medicine solely because she is female and not based overriding concerns as regulated by the FDA. These drugs would need to be outlawed for all persons, regardless of sex. To date, these pharmaceuticals have been shown as safe and effective and are regularly prescribed for purposed other than abortive reasons.

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