I suspect the South Dakota Republcian Party will be more eager to whack us Democrats with this argument than state Democratic leaders will be to embrace and campaign on it, but it’s true: if we South Dakotans want to keep the Legislature out of women’s uteri, we need to elect a Democratic governor who gives a darn about women’s rights.
Consider Minnesota, which has resisted our recent anti-abortion nuttiness and become an island of abortion rights in the upper Midwest:
So how did Minnesota become such a conspicuous exception to the recent trend toward further restricting abortions? Gov. Mark Dayton.
Dayton’s narrow first-term victory came the same year Minnesota Republicans took over the House and Senate. Over the next two years, those GOP majorities passed four bills restricting abortion in various ways. One, similar to the law proposed in Wisconsin, would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Another would have required the state to license any clinic where abortions are performed. Another would have required a physician to be physically present when prescribing an abortion pill. And a fourth would have prohibited state funding of any abortion. All were vetoed by Dayton.
Those moves have earned the governor plaudits among pro-choice activists. “Minnesota has become a beacon of women’s health,” said Planned Parenthood’s Sarah Stoesz. Echoes Laube, the Madison physician: “People in Minnesota should be glad they live in such an enlightened state” [Doug Grow, “How Minnesota Became an Island of Abortion Rights in the Midwest,” MinnPost, 2015.06.08].
Electing a Democratic governor like Mark Dayton would put some truth to South Dakota’s marketing claim to be “progressive” state. A Democratic governor—the right Democratic governor, not a weak-kneed Republican-lite who caves on women’s autonomy over their bodies—would give women the rights and respect they deserve.