The case of a 10-year-old pregnant girl in Ohio became the center of a discussion Sunday between South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and CNN anchor Dana Bash.
During a back-and-forth on CNN’s “State of the Union” about South Dakota’s abortion laws, Bash mentioned Noem the 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was denied an abortion and then traveled to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy.
When Bash asked Noem, an anti-abortion Republican governor, if South Dakota “in the future will force a 10-year-old in the same situation to have a baby,” Noem expressed sympathy for the boy from 10 years and called the story “tragic”. He also said that no one was talking about the rapist in the situation.
“As much as we can talk about what we can do for that little girl, I think we also need to address the sick people who do this to our children,” she said.
Bash responded, “But 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.”
When pressed further, Noem said, “What I would say is that I don’t think one tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. So there’s more we have to do to make sure we’re really living a life that says every life is precious, especially the innocent lives that have been ripped apart, like that 10-year-old girl.”
Bash also asked if Noem would consider a mother’s life at risk in this situation.
“And I think that’s something that, yes, that situation, the doctor, the family, the people closest to them will make the decisions there for that family.”
He went on to say that “every state will have different laws on the books… It’s the way our Constitution intended.”
Noem also said she believes those who violate South Dakota’s abortion laws should be punished.
“And those are the doctors, not the women. I want to make sure that is appropriate and that women are not punished in this situation, and that we support them as we move forward.”
On the issue of paid leave, Noem said, “That’s a discussion we’re going to have” and “it’s something I’ve supported in the past and talked about.”
Bash also asked if Noem would support a ballot measure in November that would expand Medicaid under Obamacare and allow low-income people without health insurance, particularly those who become pregnant, to be covered.
“I think it’s interesting because what it does is ensure that the expansion of Medicaid covers single people without disabilities who are able to work,” Noem said. “And it would also include a cost of about $80 million to the state.”
Noem said she will not vote for the measure herself, but will “certainly make sure it is implemented fairly and done fairly” if it passes.