South Dakota Republicans block heartbeat bill

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a rising figure on the national Republican scene and a person some view as a future presidential candidate, has been active on the legislative front of late; but this week, one of her major bills was frozen by members of her own party.

Noem has been pushing for the creation of abortion legislation that would operate similarly to the better-known Texas heartbeat bill, which disallows abortions after the detection of cardiac activity. However, Republican legislators on Wednesday blocked Noem’s proposal without a hearing, citing concerns over the language contained within.

Reporting in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader suggests the problem might be a growing feud between Noem and the state’s Speaker of the House, Spencer Gosch.

Gosch, a pro-life Republican, said he believes the bill’s language could complicate an expected court battle with Planned Parenthood, but Noem favors fast-tracking the bill now, when Supreme Court momentum is on the side of pro-life advocates.

“Every single life is precious and deserving of our protection – but apparently South Dakota legislators think otherwise,” Noem said in a statement. She later added, “National pro-life leaders believe that now is the time to have this sort of protection in law to save lives. The United States Supreme Court has allowed the Texas Heartbeat Act to go forward three times, and this legislation has essentially ended abortions in Texas. My focus is on ensuring that we are protecting as many South Dakota lives as possible.”

The American Center for Law and Justice has pledged to defend Noem should Planned Parenthood proceed with legal action.

“It is an honor and privilege to stand with Gov. Noem and her fight for the protection of life of the unborn,” chief counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “We will be honored to defend this legislation alongside the Governor and the Attorney General for the great people of South Dakota.”

While Noem’s heartbeat bill suffered a setback, other legislation she’s championed has traveled through the legislature unimpeded.

On Thursday, the governor signed into law a bill that requires all athletes competing in girls’ sports to be biologically female and provides a mechanism for athletes to seek damages if the policy is violated.

“Today [with] the signing of our bill on women’s sports South Dakota has the strongest law in the nation,” Noem tweeted in part. “Thank you to all who helped make it happen.”

The sports bill passed by a vote of 65-to-2.