S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem: Legislature must consider services for mothers amid abortion ban


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem pledged Sunday to “walk alongside” mothers now that abortion is illegal in most instances in her state and she is ready to discuss an expansion of state-funded services for them.

Ms. Noem, a Republican, said she launched a website to connect new mothers with services and will encourage a robust debate on new services when the legislature meets. 

Abortion is illegal in South Dakota except in cases in which the life of the mother is at risk after the Supreme Court overturned the broad right to the procedure in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

She said many state agencies support mothers now, but “I do believe we should” consider new funding and sources.

“It’s something I’ve supported in the past,” Ms. Noem told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that’s a debate we’re going to have.”

“I do think it’s important we walk alongside people,” she said. “We need to do a better job of supporting them.”

She deferred to legislators during the interview, saying each state would decide what to do if the Supreme Court took a second look at same-sex marriage. She also said it would be up to Congress to consider a nationwide abortion ban if the political alignment makes it feasible.

Ms. Noem also said she was sickened by a story out of Ohio, where a 10-year-old girl was forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion after she was denied in her state.

“I think we also need to address those sick individuals,” Ms. Noem said, referring to the man who impregnated the child. “This tragedy is horrific.”

However, the governor would not assent to allowing an abortion if a similar situation occurred in South Dakota.

Also Sunday, Ms. Noem declined to say whether former President Donald Trump deserved blame for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol but said she would support him if he runs for president again. She demurred on whether she would like to be his running mate, saying plenty of people would be interested.

Ms. Noem also said a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid in her state would put able-bodied people on the rolls and be very expensive for her state.

However, the governor said she won’t stand in the way if South Dakotans favor expansion through Obamacare.

“If it passes I’ll make sure it’s implemented fairly,” she said.


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