Trump VP contender Kristi Noem says abortion ban should have no exceptions for rape or incest

Post Roe v Wade abortion law in South Dakota only allows for exceptions to save life of mother

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Sunday 21 April 2024 17:38 BST
Potential Trump VP Kristi Noem says abortion ban should have no exceptions for rape or incest

During a Sunday morning appearance on CNN, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was asked whether she thinks there should be exceptions for survivors of rape and incest when it came to abortion laws.

Apparently, she does not.

Ms Noem’s interview with Dana Bash on State of the Union covered a wide range of topics given that the governor is seen as a leading contender to be Donald Trump’s running mate.

On abortion, she spoke in favour of the issue being decided by individual states post-Roe v Wade, referencing a decades-old trigger law that came into effect in her state after the Supreme Court struck down the 1973 decision.

Abortion is now banned in South Dakota, with the only exception being to save the life of the mother.

When asked by Bash if she believed there should be exceptions for rape and incest, Ms Noem replied: “We rely in South Dakota on the fact that I am pro-life and we have a law that says there is an exception for the life of the mother, and I just don’t believe that a tragedy should perpetuate another tragedy.”

The governor insisted that the current law in South Dakota was what the people of her state want.

There was a swift reaction to the clip online with podcast host Fred Wellman writing on X: “Rape isn’t a ‘tragedy’. It’s a violent crime and forcing the victim to carry the child of her rapist is one of the most shameful and vicious acts of government imaginable.”

“Absolutely monstrous people with their fake piety,” he added.

Former Obama White House staffer Tommy Vietor wrote: “Kristi Noem is considered a leading contender to be Trump VP pick. Here she says that women who are victims of rape or incest should be denied access to abortion services.”

National security attorney Bradley Moss noted: “The campaign ads write themselves.”

“Republicans stand for making women carry to term the child of their rapist.”

And indeed the Biden-Harris re-election campaign was quick off the mark, reposting the clip with no additional comment other than: “Trump VP contender Kristi Noem says she thinks rape survivors should be forced to give birth.”

Where Ms Noem has changed her view on abortion rights is that she now agrees with Mr Trump that the issue should be decided at the state level.

Previously, when she was in the House of Representatives, the governor co-sponsored legislation that would ban abortion at the federal level.

Ms Noem told Bash: “The environment changed when Roe v Wade was overturned. That returned the power back to the states, which is appropriate, and Donald Trump is exactly right. Every state’s laws will look different based on what the people in those states want to be their law when it comes to abortion.”

She added: “And we should be focusing on these women that are in crisis and they’re in unprecedented situations, and they need help and support and all the information that they can possibly have. So, my state’s laws may look different than what’s going on in California or Arizona or New York and I think that’s entirely appropriate.”

After Roe was overturned and abortion became a felony in South Dakota, Ms Noem said that doctors who perform abortions would be targeted for prosecution but mothers would not.

In seeking a place alongside Mr Trump on the Republican ticket, the interview on CNN also allowed Ms Noem to claim that former Vice President Mike Pence had “failed Donald Trump” since January 6 by constantly criticising him — seemingly forgetting that rioters at the Capitol loyal to Mr Trump wanted to hang him.

She dismissed the former president’s criminal trial — which kicks off with opening statements on Monday — as “ridiculous” and blamed it on President Joe Biden, leading to a swift fact-check from Bash that there was no evidence of such interference.

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