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A group of about 60 abortion rights protesters gathered outside of Gov. Kristi Noem's campaign office Friday afternoon in Sioux Falls.
The protest, expected to go from 3 to 8 p.m., was near 18th and Minnesota Avenue. It is permitted through the city, according to the Sioux Falls Police Department.
Posts about the event online say the event is a "women's rights, anti-SCOTUS/Noem protest" and is expected to be a "peaceful protest" on the sidewalk to raise awareness about the impact of abortion rights being overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States last week.
Ashlynn Van Beek, 19, who stood out in the heat at the protest Friday says she’s “pro-choice” and wants her daughter to someday have the choice along with others if they want to be a parent, especially those who may not be able to provide for a child.
“Children should not be forced to have children,” Van Beek said.
What's the fight?
The highest court in the land ruled June 24 that the power to legislate abortion access now belonged to the states. The ruling, which ultimately meant abortions were no longer considered protected as a Constitutional right, triggered a law in South Dakota and more than a dozen other states that made the medical procedure immediately illegal.
And in the time since, Noem has touted the ruling as a win for those who are against abortion. The day of the decision, she tweeted, "Today, life wins," and has since gone on to do a round of broadcast interviews to answer questions about what the decision means for South Dakota.
She has said that women who have an abortion would not be punished, but those who perform the procedure could be.
“Every abortion always had two victims: the unborn child and the mother. Today’s decision will save unborn lives in South Dakota, but there is more work to do,” Noem said of the ruling. “We must do what we can to help mothers in crisis know that there are options and resources available for them. Together, we will ensure that abortion is not only illegal in South Dakota – it is unthinkable.”
Noem's running for re-election this November against Jamie Smith, a Democrat, after winning the Republican Party primary in June.
In the week since, several protests or rallies have happened across the state, with Friday's marking at least the third for Sioux Falls in a week.
Wednesday's protest downtown, declared an "unlawfully assembly" by the Sioux Falls Police Department, ended with officers deploying smoke bombs to get crowds to disperse and at least six arrests. Friday's scheduled gathering, however, went off without a hitch.
Vinny Demme, who helped organize Friday's event, said the moment was about protecting women's rights in South Dakota.
"We feel like Gov. Noem has decided not to do that at all," he said.
What's the mortality rate of abortion in the U.S.?
Medical abortion, a non-surgical way to end pregnancy through a combination of medication, has a current mortality rate of about 24 deaths per 3.7 million medication abortion cases, according to a 2019 study by the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, which included information from the FDA.
Based on the latest information from 2013-2018, the national fatality rate for legal induced abortion was .41 deaths per 100,000 reported legal abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, about 700 women die yearly from pregnancy-related complications across the U.S., according to the latest data from the CDC.
For live updates from Friday's event, follow below:
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This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Sioux Falls abortion protesters gather at Gov. Kristi Noem's office