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Without Evidence of Medical Necessity, Johns Flips, Allows Ban on Home Use of Abortion Pill

Women seeking an abortion already have to make two time-consuming trips to the doctor’s office in Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Now Republican big government is forcing women seeking a less invasive form of abortion, via the abortion pill mifepristone, to make a third trip.

At the December 27 Rules Review Committee meeting, Senator Tim Johns (R-31/Lead) joined Senator Troy Heinert (D-26/Mission) and Representative Ryan Cwach (D-18/Yankton) in blocking a rule change that would make it illegal for women to take mifepristone or its follow-up drug misoprostol anywhere but in a doctor’s office, under medical supervision. Senator Johns said at that hearing that he saw no evidence that such a restriction is medically necessary.

Someone must have bought Johns a couple drinks. At yesterday’s ad hoc Rules Review meeting, Johns grumbled but submitted to his party’s will to unscientific overregulation and misogyny:

Senator Tim Johns voted against approving the rule change in December, which stalled efforts. He voted in favor of the proposed rule this time.

“I’m troubled by it. I truly am troubled,” Johns says. “I’m highly reluctant to ever intervene when it comes to decisions when it comes to patients and doctors. I think we’re getting too close, anymore. I’ll let it go at that.”

Critics say the third visit is not medically necessary.

The change comes following an executive order by Governor Kristi Noem, which bans telemedicine abortions [Lee Strubinger, “Panel OKs Ban on Medical Abortions Outside Facilities,” SDPB Radio, 2022.01.06].

Johns is “troubled,” and he still hasn’t heard any evidence that this rule is medically necessary and the FDA says there is no such evidence, but he won’t resist his party’s encroachment on women’s autonomy… or the risk to women’s health that arises from forcing women to choose between an extra long trip to the hospital for helpful medication and another day missed from work:

Noem’s administration argued the extra visit is necessary to make sure women don’t have complications from the drug.

But doctors warned that making it harder for women to get the second drug is dangerous. Forgoing the second drug creates a greater risk of hemorrhage, according to the South Dakota Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“How many women will be unable to comply, unable to return for the third time in about a week and decide they just have to take their chances and skip taking the second drug?” asked Nancy Turbak Berry, a lawyer representing Planned Parenthood, at the committee’s meeting last month. “How many emergency rooms and clinics in the outlying areas of our state are going to be faced with unnecessary medical emergencies?” [Stephen Groves, “South Dakota Makes It Harder for Women to Get Abortion Meds,” AP via PBS NewsHour, 2022.01.06]

This restriction on women’s right to take medicine at home comes even as the Department of Labor and Regulation seeks a mild liberalization of the definition of telehealth to allow health insurance to cover medical services provided remotely to South Dakotans in the comfort of their own home (see House Bill 1029). One step into the 21st century, one step back.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    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.

  2. Jake 2022-01-07

    Thus we see evidence of the Republican, conservative idea of governance, Mr. Kurtz! Enable the rich-restrict the poor! Obvious it is…

  3. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    “Crisis pregnancy centers are a public health danger, according to a report”

    Crisis pregnancy centers, which have proliferated in recent years, could be a public health danger to pregnant individuals, according to a recent report. A national coalition of reproductive health experts called The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, produced a report in the fall of 2021 detailing crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which reproductive health experts often refer to as “fake clinics.”

  4. mike from iowa 2022-01-07

    Another undue burden piled on top of a mountain of undue burdens. Magats motto “No good deed goes unpunished severely by us.”

    Women need to claim abortion is religious freedom and see how fast magats would drive them to the clinics.

  5. Eve Fisher 2022-01-07

    GOP: Women can never be punished enough for having sex, which leads to becoming the vessels for innocent, sacred fetuses who, after they’re born, turn into real human beings who whine, cry, sin, & generally have to have money, time & attention spent on them.

  6. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    Johns spent years on the bench putting numerous people in prison for violations of the laws prohibiting people from trying to feel better using substances not okay with government morons. These were often substances I imbibed with Johns at times he was an officer of the court. It is no surprise he shows once again he has no principles one can identify.

  7. Bill 2022-01-07

    To Larry Kurtz

    “Clark said that CPCs are largely run as nonprofit organizations by national anti-abortion organizations with religious affiliations.”
    Taken from the article linked by Larry, Be sure to read this article carefully.

  8. O 2022-01-07

    I don’t like any of this voting on medicine and treatments nonsense. I don’t care if it is marijuana, number of visits necessary to receive mifepristone, or any other decision that the AMA ought to have the final (if not only) say in, heath care processes and medicines ought not be the purview of the legislature. I suppose it is part of a natural consequence of marketing everything directly to the consumer/patient now; it is almost like the doctors have been cut out of the loop when it comes to prescriptions and treatment regimens. Another example of the “customer is alway right” and “customer” mindset perverting too many other elements of society. It is also the anti-science GOP bias/hubris that anyone can have an opinion that holds the weight to experts in any given field.

    This all truly is insanity.

  9. grudznick 2022-01-07

    My good friend Bob reminds me of those times we drank with that bushy-eyebrowed fellow at Jerry Apa’s bar and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

  10. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    As usual, grudznutz is lying. I can assure you I never had a drink at “Jerry Apa’s bar” with that piece of feces.

  11. Porter Lansing 2022-01-07

    Noem’s really screwed the pooch, this time. Nancy Turbak Berry is highly skilled and trained. And, she was a high school classmate of mine.

  12. Porter Lansing 2022-01-07

    Jerry Apa died on April 01, 2021. Leave his memory alone, grudnix!

  13. mike from iowa 2022-01-07

    Heartbeat International
    The Heartbeat Difference … At the first sign of pregnancy, Heartbeat International’s worldwide network of more than 3,000 pro-life pregnancy help organizations

    Right up front the widdle wambs let you know they are weasels.

  14. Loren 2022-01-07

    Third visit? Make it four… no, five. The old, fat, balding white guys that make these rules want to be absolutely sure, sure that you are inconvenienced! It reminds me of Good Morning Viet Nam, the quote by Adrian Cronauer: “[They] are in more need of a B***j** than any other White men in History!” Is this all MAGAts think about?

  15. Mark Anderson 2022-01-07

    It’s easy. The GOP simply lies. They have gotten so used to it that it’s second nature. In their “minds” it’s all to the good. After all, their power, which they crave more than cocaine, is balanced by their “good” nature. It’s enough, hypocrisy aside, that they are watching out for women.

  16. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    What does Nancy T B have to do with anything?

  17. Bill McClellan 2022-01-07

    I read an article about a group of women in Mexico (which has legalized abortion) that are providing the ladies in Texas with abortion pills and have plans to offer them online for other areas of the country where the fairer sex is repressed. There’s always a way around “rules.”

  18. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-07

    Well…Governor Noem and the Republicans in the legislature are guilty of medical malpractice and practicing medicine without a license. Blood will be on their hands.

  19. Donald Pay 2022-01-07

    Really, really stupid. Mifepristone is gonna be like molly at a rave. It will be available by the bucketful, but what you get won’t necessarily be the highest quality stuff. It may be dangerous. Just legalize it, make it easy to get and let people make their own decisions. They are going to do that anyway. Let them do it safely.

  20. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    Bob played in Apa’s illegal poker game in the basement of the Bodega long before I did. The Silver Star was the only decent bar in Lead until the Stampmill was opened. That Newland never drank there seems mendacious.

  21. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    I never played in Apia’s illegal game in the Bodega. I have no reason to lie about that. If I had known of it, I would have played.

  22. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    I drank at the Silver Star a time or two. I never drank there with Johns or anyone who I could reasonably assume was grudznutz. My visits to the Silver Star were so limited in number that I’m confident I can remember those with whom I quaffed.

  23. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    Mr. Newland’s memory hole is excusably occluded but what’s mystifying is that Tim Johns would chuck his principles if he’s not running for re-election.

  24. Bob Newland 2022-01-07

    I agree with Lar on both counts. Except for his assumption that Johns ever had principles.

  25. marvin kammerer 2022-01-07

    i still think as i have for years that leave the decision of abortion up to the women & to hell with the men especially the older white haired suckers who are still trying to prove themselves potent to all.

  26. Porter Lansing 2022-01-07

    “How many women will be unable to comply, unable to return for the third time in about a week and decide they just have to take their chances and skip taking the second drug?” asked Nancy Turbak Berry, a lawyer representing Planned Parenthood, at the committee’s meeting last month. “How many emergency rooms and clinics in the outlying areas of our state are going to be faced with unnecessary medical emergencies?”

  27. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    Porter reminds us that lawyers represent clients. Turbak Berry defended Avera in the lawsuit that could have settled a wrongful death suit after South Dakota killed Brady Folkens but that’s woefully off topic.

    Womp, womp.

  28. oldtimerDon 2022-01-07

    A very wise person (a gal) once observed that “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a holy sacrament”.

  29. larry kurtz 2022-01-07

    Lead is home to one of Earth’s deepest bunkers lso there is that.

  30. John 2022-01-07

    Donald, your comment, and Cory’s note remind me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Theory of Stupidity.
    Tim Johns, Noem, and their republicants are acting the role of being, good Germans.
    It’s a disease of the mind to go-along-to-get-along until it doesn’t matter. It’s a moral failure, not an intellectual failure. It’s what’s log wrong in the SD legislature and executive – and in the national governance.

  31. Lottie 2022-01-07

    Yeah maybe the subject of abortion should be left only to women. Unless the man signs an oath to babysit and provide financial support, then he can complain at most (:

  32. jerry 2022-01-07

    In the totally corrupted state of South Dakota, I always wonder about how much the dude got paid for his vote.

  33. O 2022-01-08

    How about this to end abortion (and protect women’s rights): any woman who does not want to carry a child to term may elect to. have that embryo transplanted into the father’s body. Problem solved.

  34. jerry 2022-01-08

    No matter what republicans try to do, the United States is on a decline due to low birth rates, terrible immigration policies or non existent ones. Us baby boomers are dying off man and there is no amount of screwing that is gonna replace us. We need new blood here in the United States and that must come from immigrants as it always has.

  35. Porter Lansing 2022-01-08

    Good one, Brenda :)

  36. John 2022-01-08

    The SD legislature again made the national news for its stupidity and authoritarianism.

    Speaks loudly of the hypocrisy of NOems screams of, FREEDOM! verses she knows best what’s good for you and your doctor.

    Meanwhile SD Social Services killed another kid while having government immunity.

    SD Courts sweep this preventable death and others under their rug of anonymity so the public is ignorant of scope and breadth of the state DSS depravity and complicity.

  37. CK 2022-01-09

    It’s a proven fact that when you open up access to affordable reproductive Healthcare, and expand sex education, abortion numbers go down.
    Let’s talk about sex, STD’s and how to prevent babies. Let’s expand healthcare so that if a 16 year old is going to have sex, they’re responsible about it. (They’re doing it anyway! Get you heads out of the sand, conservatives!)

  38. Mark Anderson 2022-01-09

    CK, this is the South Dakota tradition. When I was in high school, our coach who also taught biology, handed out a brochure on sex which we were supposed to read while he left the room. Needless to say one third of the graduating senior girls were pregnant or had given birth. Isn’t South Dakota sex education great ?

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