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Minnesota Shows One Governor Makes Difference in Protecting Women’s Rights

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.


  1. Jenny 2015-06-09 09:56

    You’re never going to get through to the ‘anti-life when out of the wombers’, Cory. Until SD Dems realize this, they will continue to lose races. It’s a built in obsession to them. I still get that paranoid Catholic girl unease in me when I see articles like this.
    If only SD knew how many GOP women get abortions out there, I think the deaths from heart attacks would increase significantly.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-09 10:11

    Never get through to them? Fine—let’s just beat them at the polls!

  3. mike from iowa 2015-06-09 11:26

    Minnesota gives wingnuts in Dakota an excuse for draconian abortion regulations. Wingnuts can claim that forcing a woman to drive all the way to next door Minnesota is not an insurmountable hardship for the poor. Otoh-asking wealthy religious organizations to fill out a government form to excuse themselves from having to provide birth control for employees is one such insurmountable hardship.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-09 16:55

    I can truthfully tell you, I love Mark Dayton. I have never loved a politician before, but I have great respect for my governor. He’s rich enough, and courageous enough that he’s not intimidated by anyone. He will do the right thing, regardless of what might be said about him. He will also compromise if it’s in the best interests of the people. It’s rare to see such unfailingly integrity in a public person. Dayton is a Real public “servant”.

  5. Dana P 2015-06-10 08:43

    Deb, so glad to hear your opinion on Dayton. Just watching from afar, I continue to be impressed by his leadership.

  6. bearcreekbat 2015-06-10 12:44

    What a contrast – Gov. Dayton vs Gov. Daugaard! Minnesota’s Governor takes active steps to assure women retain the right to bodily integrity and safe medical care, while South Dakota’s Governor sits on his hands (or even provides encouragement) while our elected representatives treat women as stupid, immoral, evil second class citizens and try their very best to take away safe medical care from women.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-10 20:49

    Yes, BCB, the Dayton/Daugard contrast is stunning. I am so glad I moved 8 years ago. As I’ve stated before, part of my heart will always be in SD due to 50 years there. But for me, the SD government is like an abusive lover. It took me a long time to leave, and it was absolutely the right thing for me to do. I have been freed to be valued, respected and cared about.

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