SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — Abortion is now illegal in South Dakota with one exception: to save the pregnant person’s life. Companies with employees in South Dakota, however, are offering them reimbursement for travel if they need an abortion; Starbucks, Wells Fargo and DICK’s Sporting Goods are among the companies with South Dakota locations who are offering these reimbursements.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan discussed the topic on Sunday.
“How are you going to handle corporations operating in your state that say they will provide health care and financial support to employees who travel out of state for abortions?” Brennan asked. “You’re gonna go after those companies or go after those individuals?”
“No, Margaret, I don’t know if you’re paying attention to really the debate that’s going on in South Dakota,” Noem said. “Those aren’t the conversations we’re having.”
Justice Empowerment Network, or JEN, helps people access abortion services.
“I’m definitely commending these employers for providing these benefits to workers,” said Puja Datta, an executive board member with JEN. “It’s absolutely what needs to happen.”
Datta does, however, raise questions.
“We don’t really know what the implications of this, of going out of state to get an abortion is going to look like for a lot of people,” Datta said. “We don’t know how much it’s going to end up costing, we don’t know how long once you get to the abortion clinic in a different state how long you might have to wait.”
There is also the question of an employee’s time.
“It boils down to how will you be affected if you decide to take these benefits, will you have the time off, will you have the recovery time off?” Datta said.
Brennan asked Noem about what the state will do.
“Walmart and Amazon will not face litigation from the state of South Dakota?” Brennan said.
“We’re going to continue to support these mothers, make sure that they are protected from any kind of prosecution that would happen,” Noem said. “Make sure that these babies are recognized and that every single life is precious, and that we enforce our laws and I’ll continue to make sure that the people of our state know they can speak to their elected representatives that will make those decisions closer to home than what we’re seeing at the federal level.”
“Okay, so I think you were saying you’re not going to go after corporations there. Let me just ask you here what a fellow,” Brennan said before Noem answered on Face the Nation.
“No intention to do that, Margaret,” Noem said.