Noem Backtracks, Says Special Session On Abortion Isn’t Needed


       Three weeks after calling for a special session on abortion, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on Friday released a statement with several key state lawmakers saying a special session won’t be necessary.

       In the statement, Noem and the lawmakers say “It has become clear that South Dakota is the most pro-life state in the nation” with laws and resources that mean the state can wait until next year’s regular session to improve them. 

     Noem has been getting pressure from some conservative groups, such as the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, to move forward with the special session.

      State Representative Tony Randolph of Rapid City says the Caucus and others believe Noem was right when she said last month that there is more work to do, and they think that work should begin now.

    The legislature can call a special session itself, but a 2/3rds majority in each chamber is needed and based on the number of lawmakers siding with Noem, reaching that total seems virtually impossible.

     Democratic State Representative Jamie Smith, Noem’s opponent in November, accused her of playing politics with the special session announcement.

     Smith said Noem decided a special session on abortion “wouldn’t be best for her campaign image (because) people were going to be bringing bills that she didn’t want to deal with,” so she backed out of her commitment to call one.