Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem Still Lying About Safety of Telemedicine Abortion

Kristi Noem was lying about science last year when she B.S.’ed her way to justifying a ban on telemedicine abortions. She’s still lying today, says

Nonetheless, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who opposes abortion, defended her state’s ban on prescriptions via telemedicine (rather than in-person) appointments by calling medication abortions “very dangerous medical procedures” and claiming that “a woman is five times more likely to end up in an emergency room if they’re utilizing this kind of method for an abortion.”

Noem’s press office said Noem meant to say four times more likely, not five (a figure she has used in the past), and cited research on emergency room visits by women with Medicaid coverage who got medication abortions. She isn’t citing the study correctly, though. It found that women who got medication abortions were 53% more likely (not four times) to have a subsequent emergency room visit for an abortion-related reason than a woman who received a surgical abortion [Robert Farley, “Noem’s Misleading Claim About Safety of Medication Abortion,”, 2022.07.07].

But women taking advantage of telemedicine for abortions still visit the emergency room more often than women who go in to a physical medical office, right? So telemedicine must be more harmful to women, and the state must rush in to protect our fragile flowers of womanhood from this grievous harm, right?

“For about 5% of patients who have medication abortions, an additional procedure will be required to complete the abortion,” Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, the lead author of the study, told us in an email. “This is not considered a severe adverse event, it just means that the abortion was not effective. This additional procedure can be done at a clinic or by an obgyn, but people who don’t have a primary care provider often go to emergency rooms. In our paper, we examined emergency department visits and complications that were treated at clinics, obgyns and primary care providers.

“A medication abortion may result in more ED [Emergency Department] visits than a procedural abortion,” Upadhyay said. “Unlike an in-clinic procedural abortion but similar to a natural pregnancy loss (miscarriage), much of the process of a medication abortion occurs while a patient is at home without medical supervision. This may contribute to increased concern about the symptoms which may then lead people to visit an ED for a consultation. This consultation does not necessarily mean an adverse event has occurred.”

“Studnicki’s analysis finds much higher rates of complications because they consider any ED visit to be a complication,” Upadhyay said. “It is important to note … that ED visits are not an indicator of abortion safety. ED visits do not represent a concerning outcome in and of themselves. Many people who have obtained abortions visit EDs afterwards because they have no other primary care provider. This is particularly true of Medicaid patients.”

Upadhyay points to a national study she led in 2018 that, she said, found “over 50% of ED visits after abortion receive no treatment or diagnosis. They receive observation care only. Looking at ED visits alone without attention to the treatments they received is not scientifically sound because those visits may not involve a problem that requires intervention” [Farley, 2022.07.07].

If you need medicine, see a doctor, in person or by amazing 21st-century videophone. If you need science, see a scientist. If need a snowjob, see Snow Queen Kristi Noem.


  1. Eve Fisher 2022-07-08 09:55

    The entire right wing lies repeatedly about the risks of abortion v. the risks of pregnancy. And ignores the fact that 1 in 10 pregnancies generally ends in a miscarriage. This is going to get very, very, very deadly for American women, especially as the conservativerse seems determined to treat every miscarriage as a self-induced abortion.

  2. Adam 2022-07-08 11:40

    What makes this so tough is rurals have different values than population centers. Rurals don’t care if babies pop out with two heads, three arms, or one half of a brain – or if laboring a child splits a 10 year old girls pelvis in half – those babies and raped children fit into rural culture and communities just fine.

    …Because rape, incest, brain malformation and body deformities are absolutely normal in the rural parts of this country, not just in South Dakota.

    Getting rurals to stop rape and incest is like trying to get The South to stop slavery. It’s a serious fight.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-07-08 11:41

    “‘The most effective, well-studied regimen for medication abortion in the U.S. is mifepristone and misoprostol,’ said Megan Freeland, a doctor of pharmacy and the director of health communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Rather than use herbs to induce abortions, experts encourage people to contact a medical professional for guidance on how to safely end a pregnancy.“

  4. Loti 2022-07-08 12:08

    What role do men play in this whole abortion issue? And why is it that the majority of the Supreme Court are older men making these decisions. Many Governors can’t even have children anymore but yet they make these decisions about abortion issues also. Something is terribly wrong these days in the U.S. when we thought we were such an advanced Nation.

  5. All Mammal 2022-07-08 12:18

    Why isn’t Governor Kristi cracking down on convicted sex offenders having access to viagra?

  6. bearcreekbat 2022-07-08 12:40

    To the extent, “experts encourage people to contact a medical professional for guidance on how to safely end a pregnancy,“ would providing that advice subject to criminal prosecution under South Dakota’s aiding and abetting or conspiracy criminal statutes?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-07-08 12:40

    Loti, as a man, my role is to refrain from making the decision for any woman, to provide advice to women considering an abortion only if they ask me to participate in their decision-making process, and to work to prevent the state from usurping women’s autonomy.

  8. bearcreekbat 2022-07-08 12:44

    Likewise, would Cory be subject to criminal prosecution if he decided “to provide advice to women considering an abortion . . . if they ask [him] to participate in their decision-making process?”

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-07-08 13:48

    My role also includes using this forum to point out when out elected leaders are lying to justify their unjust laws.

    Can I be prosecuted for offering my advice to women who ask for it? Not under SDCL 22-17-5.1: “Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.” That statute does not criminalize advice.

    It’s too bad we can’t criminalize false statements from elected officials in their official statements justifying policy.

  10. bearcreekbat 2022-07-08 14:11

    Cory appears to be correct that he would not be directly liable to criminal prosecution under SDCL 22-17-5.1 as that does not “criminalize advice.” My concern, however, was not with that statute but with South Dakota’s aiding and abetting statute, SDCL 22-3-3, which provides:

    Any person who, with the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime, aids, abets, or advises another person in planning or committing the crime, is legally accountable, as a principal to the crime.</blockquote)

    In addition, the broad language in South Dakota's conspiracy statute, SDCL 22-3-8, gives me pause as to whether advising someone how to commit a crime constitutes an "act to effect" that crime:

    Conspiracy to commit offense–Punishment.
    If two or more persons conspire, either to commit any offense against the State of South Dakota, . . . and one or more of the parties do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy is guilty of conspiracy . . . .

  11. 96Tears 2022-07-08 14:50

    bearcreekbat – They used to imprison and hang people who helped slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. All they did was provide information or give someone a ride or provide needed shelter and food. I would not be surprised to see future rising stars with law degrees in the Taliban Wing of the SDGOP employ that law to take down bloggers and/or commenters who make that kind of information public. Or even in a private correspondence online or in person.

    There seems to be a race to the bottom (and beyond) among thuggish GOP governors and legislators to weaponize the laws along with their weaponized political rhetoric. It would make an interesting First Amendment case, but with the Junta of 5 on the bench, no bets on how they would rule. Political and narrow religious beliefs seem to be the guiding principles among them.

  12. Mark Anderson 2022-07-08 15:20

    Jeez folks. Just go to Aid Access, Consult with their doctors. Have your pills within two weeks, shipped from India. Those Dutch women know what they are doing. Dr. Rebecca Gomperts is the incredible person behind this. Cost is $110 to $150. Gosh did I just break the law in So. Dak? WFC.

  13. bearcreekbat 2022-07-08 15:35

    96 tears, exactly my concern. Some legally trained Taliban that finds himself or herself in a prosecutorial role certainly could believe that advising a woman about how or where to obtain help in terminating her pregnancy to be a criminal act. The days of the underground railroad and slavery provide a frightening example of how far this could go in inflicting punishment on people simply trying to help someone in need.

    In more recent times (the 1980’s I believe), I recall that Pennington County somehow elected an odd duck as a States Attorney who held himself out as an extreme activist religious individual. When two particular movies came to Rapid City that upset some members of the religious community, I recall that this State’s Attorney apparently tried to stop the theatres from showing the movies with threats of a “common law blasphemy” criminal prosecution. The threats went nowhere since all common law crimes had been superceded years earlier by criminal statutes and SD did not have a criminal blasphemy statute due to that pesky !st Amendment, so the theatres continued showing the two films and cashing in on all the free publicity created by the States Attorney’s threats. The films were: Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and the 1980’s hit “Cruisin'” starring Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, and Karen Allen.

    The situation today strikes me as much more serious and dangerous as the criminal penalities are much more severe than common law blasphemy penalties and religious extremist activists don’t seem to be as rare these days as they were in the 1980’s.

  14. Adam 2022-07-08 15:47

    If a fruit of my loins has no arms or legs in the womb after 4-8 weeks, then I’m for throwing that ball of goo (some call it a baby) away in hopes of having a child with at least 1 (or hopefully 4) limbs on the next try.

    But when it comes to half-brained babies and traumatized rape and incest victims, rurals need those babies the most to preserve their communities and culture.

  15. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-07-08 17:34

    I believe Adam is teetering along the fine ledge of satire and reality. HOWEVER:
    I propose Kristi Lynn be forced to be first in line with a receiving blanket to legally adopt the next, carried-to-term, shoulda been aborted holoprosencephalic or Dandy-walker syndrome genetic mistake (regardless of race).
    She should also be FORCED to breastfeed or pump breastmilk for 12 hours daily. She can afford those hormones, and the time to do so, because she’s apparently doing nothing else.

  16. mike from iowa 2022-07-08 17:56

    Noem should be shackled to a concrete post so she can’t roam. he always comes back with more draconian laws to inhibit people’s freedumbs.

    Then you should ask her over and over how she is keeping gubmint out of citizen’s lives, because none of the red state guvs re making people freer or safer from gun violence.

  17. DaveFN 2022-07-08 21:00


    Does the name H. Richard “Dick” Churchwell, Pennington County State’s Attorney, ring a bell?

  18. Bob Newland 2022-07-08 21:53

    Abortion has been a prominent issue in SoDak politics ever since “Roe.” Many of us became single-issue voters because the zealots gave us no choice. Turns out the forced-birth zealots were wrong on a lot of things.

    Now, the battle line is cleanly sliced. If you think a woman has bodily autonomy, you’re at odds with those who think she doesn’t. a

    Every time I mark a ballot, it is because I believe a person has a right to rid herself of an abdominal growth she doesn’t want to be there.

    If you try to qualify her autonomy with restrictions, you’re hypocritical. Likely in the process of much of your life.

  19. bearcreekbat 2022-07-09 00:27

    DaveFN – bingo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.