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Jamie Smith Holds Press Conference Regarding Canceled Special Session on Abortion

Sioux Falls, SD– On Monday, July 18th at 3:00pm, South Dakota Representative Jamie Smith held a press conference at EmBe to discuss proposed bills which would affect access to abortion in South Dakota. Jamie Smith is currently the Democratic candidate for governor and will be challenging Kristi Noem in November’s midterm election. He is also the current minority leader in the state house. Smith’s platform, outlined on his campaign website, expresses a desire for unity across the political aisle, economic growth, marijuana legalization, medicaid expansion, and pushing back against corruption in the state government.

Smith opened the press conference by acknowledging that, “for many in our state, the last month created uncertainty and confusion,” further stating that he wanted to "assure South Dakotans that their leaders are hard at work looking to find solutions to problems, and a plan for the future."

The House Democratic Caucus had planned to release several bills during a special session which has now been canceled. Smith described the bills as “common-sense solutions” with “bipartisan support” concerning maternal health and child welfare, including tax cuts for foster care, funding for maternal healthcare, and proposals for rape and incest exceptions in South Dakota’s trigger ban on abortions. He emphasized the need to find common ground with Republican lawmakers on these issues, in order to work together.

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The conference packet, provided at the press conference, outlines details regarding legislative concepts the Caucus intends to pursue;

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HB 1005 and HB 1006 would both expand healthcare coverage for pregnant mothers. HB 1005 would give pregnant minors, with the mental capacity to consent, the ability to access any medical procedure needed for prenatal care. Healthcare providers would still be required to make a reasonable attempt to obtain consent from parents and guardians. This could potentially enable minors who have been the victim of rape and/or incest to obtain an abortion if HB 1001 also passes, but would also cover any necessary healthcare to bring the pregnancy of a minor to term. HB 1006 would expand Medicaid coverage to mothers up to 180 days after they have given birth.

On Friday, July 15th, Kristi Noem canceled the proposed special session to discuss the details of South Dakota’s ban on abortion and proposals for how to support women and families, insisting that it was “unnecessary” to move forward with it. The cancellation of this special session, has prompted calls from both sides of the aisle, now seeking to "close the loopholes," and provide firmer legal boundaries codified in the state's statutes.

Noem had originally called for the special session to take place on June 24th, in response to the Supreme Court's ruling of
Dobbs v Jackson. In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Noem stated,

“In South Dakota, we had a trigger law already in statute. And what it said was that abortions would be illegal, except to save the life of a mother at the moment that Roe v. Wade was overturned. So as of today, that trigger law goes into effect. And we are focusing a lot on supporting mothers, on supporting individuals who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy or crisis situation and making sure that we’re connecting them to the resources that we have.”

Prior to Dobbs v Jackson taking effect, the last abortion clinic in South Dakota had closed its doors, in anticipation of the SCOTUS ruling. Kristi Noem has encouraged women and families to seek support through life.sd.gov, which connects clients with various resources and organizations that can help with prenatal care, financial assistance, adoption, and courses on parenting skills.

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Post Date: 2022-07-20 09:00:00Last Update: 2022-07-20 09:20:01

    


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