South Dakota passes country's first 'Med Ed' bill to combat abortion 'misinformation'

State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.
State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota. | Getty Images

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a first-in-the-nation law designed to educate medical professionals about the treatments available to pregnant women facing life-threatening or health-threatening conditions under the state's abortion restrictions to push back against what supporters are calling "confusion" and "misinformation." 

Noem, a Republican, signed House Bill 1224 into law Monday after it was approved by the Republican-controlled South Dakota House of Representatives in a 63-6 vote last month and the Republican-controlled South Dakota Senate in a 31-3 vote earlier this month.

The bill instructs the state's Department of Health to create an informational video and other materials outlining "acts that do and do not constitute an abortion" under "the state's abortion law."

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South Dakota is one of 24 states that have passed laws restricting abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. The court determined that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion and overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

According to the pro-life activist organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, South Dakota law prohibits abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy except in cases where the mother faces life-threatening complications.

The video authorized by House Bill 1224 will explain the "most common medical conditions that threaten the life or health of a pregnant woman" as well as "the generally accepted standards of care applicable to the treatment of a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions."

The video will hit on "criteria that a practitioner, exercising reasonable medical judgment, might use in determining the best course of treatment for a pregnant woman experiencing life-threatening or health-threatening medical conditions and for her unborn child."

The South Dakota Department of Health has until Sept. 1 to create the video, which will be available on its website.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America identified South Dakota as the first state to pass what it describes as a "Med Ed Bill" through the legislative process, noting that "other states have taken similar steps administratively" through advisory opinions issued by the Republican attorneys general of Oklahoma and Kentucky.

"We thank Gov. Noem for making South Dakota the first state to protect women's lives with a Med Ed Law," SBA Pro-Life America's State Public Affairs Director Kelsey Pritchard said in a statement. "Regardless of political affiliation or whether someone is pro-life or pro-choice, South Dakotans of all political philosophies can celebrate that moms will be better protected through direct education to our doctors on their ability to exercise reasonable medical judgment in all situations."

"Though every state with a pro-life law allows pregnant women to receive emergency care, the abortion industry has sown confusion on this fact to justify their position of abortion without limits," Pritchard added. "With many in the media refusing to fact-check this obvious lie, other states should look to South Dakota in combating dangerous abortion misinformation." 

Pro-life advocacy groups cite the assertion from pro-choice activists and politicians that abortion restrictions such as those established in South Dakota prevent women from accessing treatment for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies as an example of "misinformation."

Amid the Dobbs decision in 2022, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists compiled a fact sheet refuting such claims. 

"The difference between a miscarriage and an elective abortion is clear," the fact sheet states. "In a miscarriage, the baby has already died and therefore any treatment of a miscarriage would not be an abortion. The procedures and treatments used for miscarriage management are not prohibited by abortion restrictions."

"An ectopic pregnancy requires removing an embryo to save a mother's life so that both lives are not lost," the fact sheet continues. "This life-saving treatment is not prevented by any current law restricting or banning abortion. Claiming that it is only serves to confuse women and potentially cause critical delays in care."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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