South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) defended her state’s abortion ban on CNN Sunday when asked if it would force a 10-year-old rape victim to give birth.
A trigger law took effect in South Dakota following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, banning abortions except when the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
On “State of the Union,” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Noem about a report last week that a 10-year-old victim of child abuse was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion due to Ohio’s ban on abortions after six weeks. The child was reportedly six weeks and three days pregnant.
Bash asked the South Dakota governor if her state would force someone in that situation to give birth.
Noem did not answer the question and pivoted instead to discussing the attacker.
“What’s incredible is that nobody is talking about the pervert, horrible and deranged individual that raped a 10-year-old, and what are we doing about that?” she said. “As much as we talk about what we can do for that little girl, I think we also need to be addressing those sick individuals that do this to our children.”
Bash agreed that that was an important discussion to have, but redirected her to the question. “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. Should she have to have a child?” she asked.
Noem replied that “every single life is precious” and “this tragedy is horrific.”
“But, in South Dakota, the law today is that the abortions are illegal, except to save the life of the mother.”
She said she would not be in favor of amending the state’s law.
“I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy,” she said.
When Bash asked the question again, noting that a 10-year-old would suffer both mental and likely physical harm from carrying a child, Noem said: “I think that’s something that ― yeah, that situation, the doctor, the family, the individuals closest to that will make the decisions there for that family.”
Noem, a Donald Trump ally who has signed harmful legislation during her tenure that allows for discrimination against LGBTQ couples and transgender women who play sports, pushed for restrictions on abortion in her state before Roe was overturned. She issued an executive order last year that would make it harder for people to access abortion pills.
During the same CNN interview Tuesday, Noem also attacked the credibility of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who testified before it last week.
Noem attracted criticism for those comments from another guest on the show later on Sunday, her former colleague in the U.S. House, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
“This is not the Kristi Noem I served with,” Kinzinger said. “It is clear she’s running for president or vice president. She’s scared to death of the base.”