South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem doubled-down Sunday on her state’s anti-abortion laws when asked about a 10-year-old girl who reportedly got pregnant after being raped.
Noem, noting that abortion is illegal in South Dakota except to save the life of the mother, said the “tragic situation” of the 10-year-old should not be “perpetuated by another tragedy.”
South Dakota is among a handful of states in which trigger laws immediately went into effect banning abortion after the Supreme Court’s decision last month overturning the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade.
An exchange between Noem and CNN’s Dana Bash began when the cable TV host asked the governor about a report in the Indianapolis Star on Saturday. The outlet said a 10-year-old in Ohio who is six weeks and three days pregnant has to travel to Indiana for an abortion because she can’t get one in Ohio, where the procedure is illegal after six weeks.
An abortion ban in Indiana has yet to take effect.
“Because [there also is a] trigger law [in South Dakota] that was passed before you became governor, I wanted you to be clear: Will the state of South Dakota going forward force a 10-year-old in that very same situation to have a baby?” Bash asked Noem.
The Republican pol replied, “You know what I think is incredible, Dana, in this tragic story?
“What’s incredible is that nobody’s talking about the pervert, the horrible and deranged individual, that raped a 10-year-old,” Noem said. “What are we doing about those individuals that do this to these children?”
Bash said she agreed with Noem’s comments about the rapist but added, “Our bodies are our bodies, and women are the ones who get pregnant.
“And, in this case, it wasn’t a woman. It was a girl,” Bash said.
Noem said, “It’s a child. It’s a child.”
Bash asked if the girl should have to have a “child.”
Noem replied, “Every single life — every single life is precious.
“This tragedy is horrific. I can’t even imagine. I have never had anybody in my family or myself gone through anything like this.”
After several minutes of back-and-forth about South Dakota’s law, Bash asked Noem if she would work to include an exception to reflect the case of the 10-year-old.
“In South Dakota, the law today is that the abortions are illegal, except to save the life of the mother,” Noem said.
Bash pressed, “And you would be OK with that, a 10-year-old girl having to have a baby?”
Noem said the story would “keep me up at night” and breaks her heart as a mother and a grandmother.
“What I would say is, I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. And so there’s more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl,” Noem said.
The Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade on June 24, saying the states should be the ones to decide whether to restrict or ban the procedure.