GOP Governor Threatens 'Felony Prosecution' Over Abortion Pills After FDA Ruling
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and AG Marty Jackley threaten pharmacists with 'felony prosecution' if they dispense abortion-inducing pills.
On January 3, 2023 the Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule change broadening availability of abortion pills to many more pharmacies including large chain stores and mail-order companies.
But several states blocked this expanded access to reproductive healthcare before it was even implemented. Numerous states already passed laws limiting abortion access, including or specifically the pills.
In 2022 the Biden administration announced it would no longer enforce the requirement women pick up the medicine in person. The FDA change formally updated the drug’s labeling to allow many more retail pharmacies to dispense the pills and made mail-order a possibility for the first time.
South Dakota conservative Republican Governor Kristi Noem together with South Dakota's Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley vowed Tuesday, January 24—21 days after the FDA rule change—to prosecute pharmacists who dispense the pills.
South Dakota banned all abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person.
\u201cRepublicans want to throw women, doctors, and pharmacists in jail for the crime of letting women control their own bodies.\nhttps://t.co/0RMjckOiSy\u201d— Bill Pascrell, Jr. \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Bill Pascrell, Jr. \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1674599497
In a letter to South Dakota pharmacists, the state's GOP leaders stated:
"South Dakota will continue to enforce all laws including those that respect and protect the lives of the unborn."
Pharmacists who don't comply were threatened by Noem and Jackley with "felony prosecution."
\u201cWho the hell do politicians think they are? Especially female politicians who turn their backs on women and girls?!\nEvery damn step that politicians take is for their own agenda. It is to make sure THEY stay in power. THEY advance THEIR career.\nhttps://t.co/otQDgf9mAN\u201d— Sunflower Soul (@Sunflower Soul) 1674613745
People found the threats to medical professionals for doing their job distasteful.
\u201cMAGA Republicans are now threatening to throw pharmacists in jail if they allow women and girls access to abortion pills. \n\nCruelty is the point. https://t.co/odbaAqOrnK\u201d— CAP Action (@CAP Action) 1674657300
\u201cThese Republicans including Kristi Noem threatening people and pharmacies for buying abortion pills ain\u2019t gonna fly. We need to start getting these politicians medical records. All of there sh!t! They wanna invade our privacy let\u2019s do the same and see how they fuggin like it.\u201d— Whitney (@Whitney) 1674589388
\u201c\ud83d\udea8South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem & AG Marty Jackley are ready to prosecute pharmacists who provide abortion medication. Extremist Republicans are putting lives at risk. https://t.co/yzY1uIgpIo\u201d— Democratic AGs (@Democratic AGs) 1674760468
\u201cSouth Dakota Gov. Noem threatens charges for abortion pills. This is so horrendously wrong, so shameful... And what about men Kristi, what about the other half of the equation. Not that you have any business wading into the womb and a Woman's personal choice! #KristiNoem\u201d— Todd O'Keefe (@Todd O'Keefe) 1674623282
\u201cRepub Gov Kristi Noem threatens pharmacists with prison for distributing abortion pills for women or girls, including minors who are victims of rape or incest. This is Christo fascism.\nWelcome to extreme right-wing reproductive slavery of their Gilead. \n https://t.co/GfSFv4TUQo\u201d— That's Not Right (@That's Not Right) 1674589121
\u201cKristi Noem is now threatening to throw pharmacists in jail if they ALLOW ACCESS to abortion pills for women and girls, including minors who are a victim of rape or incest.\nTHIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.\n\nRepublicans are showing us exactly who they are. I hope you are paying attention.\u201d— MP Arizona\u2600\ufe0f\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf35\ud83d\udc15\ud83d\udc15\u200d\ud83e\uddba\ud83e\udec2\ud83d\udca6\ud83c\udfdc\ud83d\udc1f\ud83c\udf34\ud83c\udf99\ud83c\udf0e\ud83c\udf3b\u264d\ufe0f\ud83c\udf0a (@MP Arizona\u2600\ufe0f\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf35\ud83d\udc15\ud83d\udc15\u200d\ud83e\uddba\ud83e\udec2\ud83d\udca6\ud83c\udfdc\ud83d\udc1f\ud83c\udf34\ud83c\udf99\ud83c\udf0e\ud83c\udf3b\u264d\ufe0f\ud83c\udf0a) 1674752145
\u201c@govkristinoem Why isn't evil Kristi Noem going after price gouging stores and oil companies who are making windfall profits. I'll tell you! They own her traitorous ass! Kriste really doesn't care about the people in Douth Dakota. Kristi supports corporate fascism!\u201d— Governor Kristi Noem (@Governor Kristi Noem) 1673983624
\u201c@NoLieWithBTC Kristi Noem is yet another example of Fascism in power in the US. \n\nThey\u2019re consistent\u2014Republican Politicians are using the powers of the government to go after Americans and our established way of life because it\u2019s not in alignment with their religious beliefs.\n\nAmerica\u2014\u201d— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen) 1674588677
But some wondered if there was a way to circumvent these laws attacking reproductive freedom.
\u201c@ReallyAmerican1 @lobylyn There\u2019s a European group that mails abortion pills and will have a doctor. call you. You just have to contact them. Kristi Noem cannot charge them in France. Or wherever it is. And there\u2019s no punishment for the woman she says so all good.\u201d— Really American \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Really American \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1674676765
Legal experts anticipate years of court cases in response to the conservative, Christian nationalist influenced Supreme Court majority's choice to overturn decades of settled law with their decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization nullifying the Roe v. Wade.