Abortion special session “highly unlikely”

Governor Kristi Noem has said on several occasions that she intended to bring the state legislature back for a special session on abortion, after Roe v. Wade was overturned. In the weeks since that has happened, Noem appears to be preparing to walk those calls back.
Governor Kristi Noem holds a town hall in Mobridge
Governor Kristi Noem holds a town hall in Mobridge(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:45 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - Immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Governor Kristi Noem sent out a press release with legislative leaders saying that a special session on abortion “will be decided promptly.”

At the South Dakota Republican convention the same day, Noem said that a special session was probably needed.

“We more than likely will have to go into a special session to address a few of our statue changes that may need to be made, I would really like to see us start supporting mothers in a new way.”

Three weeks later, that special session appears to be less than likely.

Speculation has mounted in Pierre that Noem is preparing to walk her call for a special session back.

In a statement, Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) acknowledged the dimming prospects.

“A special session is highly unlikely at this time,” Gosch said in a statement to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory. “I feel that the trigger law is sound and adequate enough to protect life until the legislature can debate the topic.”

If Noem were to walk back her calls for a special session, it would once more put her at odds with many in her own party. The newly formed South Dakota Freedom Caucus put out a release Thursday calling on Noem to move forward with her original plan for a special session.

“After the Dobbs decision came out which pushed it back to the states, the trigger law went into effect,” said State Rep. Aaron Aylward (R-Harrisburg). “However, we still feel that there are some loopholes out there. We just want to make sure as a legislature we have all of those loopholes covered up.”

Noem’s gubernatorial opponent Jamie Smith says that Noem is backing off to avoid political blowback.

“She decided this wouldn’t be best for her campaign image, that people were going to be bringing bills that she didn’t want to deal with, so she is backing out of it,” Smith said.

Noem’s office said that at this time, they did not have any updates in regards to the special session. An announcement on it is expected in the coming days.

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