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Right-Wing Republican Lasseter Argues for Women’s Liberty in Pregnancy Matters

Maybe District 30 House candidate Weldon Travis Lasseter really can’t hear what he’s saying. Last week the aspiring New Underwood wing nut needed me to point out that posing for a picture with a supporter wearing a traitor symbol probably isn’t a wise marketing choice. Now I find the conservative Republican, who serves on the board of the Rapid City branch of deceptive national anti-abortion propaganda network Care Net, making the argument for keeping government out of women’s pregnancy choices:

After the board meeting, I then went to the Birth Matters legislative event at the capital, where they discussed the issue of home births. This topic is one that is close to my family’s heart, as my wife and I have had two home births. This option is a liberty mothers should have access to in this state. With our last child, my wife wanted to deliver our last child at home as well, but, due to the overly restrictive regulations at the time, she was burdened with worrying about traveling out of state to seek the care that she wanted and deserved, something no mother should face. As a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who is trained to deliver children, in my professional opinion the process was so overly restrictive, it essentially eliminates the option. Essentially, the current laws prevent a midwife from delivering a child in the comfort of someone’s home, and are forced to do the procedure within a hospital, forcing the proud parents to pay the midwife and the hospital in addition, for the same service, making it cost-ineffective. As I look at my loving wife and our children, it strengthens my support of Birth Matter’s and their push to have certified midwives here in South Dakota so that women, like my wife, have more freedom in having their children at home [emphasis mine; Travis Lasseter, “Charging the Hill with S.D. Stock Grower’s Association,” District 30 House campaign website, 2016.01.21].

Rep. Lance Russell, candidate W. Travis Lasseter, and Rep. Lynne DiSanto, Pierre, SD, 2016.01.19—photo posted by Lasseter, campaign website, 2016.01.21.
Well said, Travis! Now could you explain that to Lance and Lynne? (Rep. Lance Russell, candidate W. Travis Lasseter, and Rep. Lynne DiSanto, Pierre, SD, 2016.01.19—photo posted by Lasseter, campaign website, 2016.01.21.)

Lasseter is talking about home births and midwifery, but the logic he applies to respecting women’s autonomy in choosing how to complete a pregnancy applies just as well to respecting women’s autonomy in choosing whether to carry a pregnancy to completion.

When a political issue is all about stigmatizing and controlling other women, Lasseter is all for government regulation. But when we turn to his family’s own medical choices, Lasseter rediscovers women’s liberty and deems regulation overly restrictive.

Travis is absolutely right: no mother should face government regulations that force her to seek the medical options she deserves out of state and thus essentially eliminate the options. South Dakota should act to give women more freedom, not less.

Well done, Travis. Well done, indeed.

p.s.: S.D. Birth Matters is still working on two bills to promote the birth liberty Lasseter craves for his wife, one to license midwives, the other to decriminalize midwifery by practitioners licensed in other states and by midwifery students under professional supervision. Remember, bills like this aren’t just about midwifery; they’re about creating the kind of liberty and opportunity that will throttle brain drain.


  1. mike from iowa 2016-01-25

    Good post and great conclusion. Time to remove the blinders and broaden narrow visioned minds.

  2. Edwin A Arndt 2016-01-25

    I will never understand your cavalier attitude toward life in the womb.
    ( Your offhand reference to pregnancy)

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-25

    Edwin—cavalier? Please elaborate. I do not speak of pregnancy or women’s rights with a lack of proper concern. I am keenly concerned that women be allowed to make their own decisions without men or legislators tromping on their deserved dignity.

    I’ll elaborate to help you understand my position. Pregnancy happens in wombs. Wombs exist in women. Humans deserve control over whatever happens inside them. Therefore, women control their pregnancies.

  4. Edwin Arndt 2016-01-25


    It will forever be my position that when a man and a woman conceive a child it is their
    responsibility to nurture and protect that life, not destroy it if they deem it inconvenient.

  5. mike from iowa 2016-01-25

    Victim meet your rapist. This had to be an illegitimate rape since you got knocked up by this fine gentleman rapist. Now the two of you sit down and plan a proper gestational period for little rapist or rapee junior. Afterall it took two of you to create this life. Maybe we should make you two get married for the sake of your bundle of joy. Problem solved and all is right in wingnut’s La La Land.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-25

    Edwin, I agree with the idea of personal responsibility. That concept on which we agree does not entail a legislative right to dictate how women use their bodies.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-25

    A great post and even greater conclusion.
    What caught my attention was that Lasseter was forced to travel out of state for his wife’s second child’s home birth.
    This is exactly what we talk about when wealthy republican women can afford to travel out of state for an abortion.

  8. Edwin Arndt 2016-01-25

    Cory, if a woman conceives after consensual sex, then it is not only her body but the body of her child for which she has responsibility, as does the father have similar responsibility. The father
    also has legal responsibility according to law. However, to be clear, I am not talking about only
    about legality. It is, again, my considered opinion that if a woman conceives through consensual
    sex, she then has a moral duty to carry her child to term.

    Sex has become way to cheap in our society. We are reaping the whirlwind.

  9. Bob Newland 2016-01-25

    Edwin, I am glad you have considered opinions. I am also glad that we are not under legal obligation to give most folks’ considered opinions legitimacy. We all have considered opinions, just as all (well most of us anyway) have elbows.

    You have now given voice to your considered opinion. Now, go home and shut up.

  10. Winston 2016-01-25

    What? A Republican who wants to de-regulate women? Perhaps there is some hope here?

    “….she then has a moral duty to carry her child to term.”

    Well, as far as this quote goes, “she” may have a “moral duty,” but not a legal duty and that is where those of us in the pro-choice community differ with our pro-life friends.

    As an example, I am sick and tired of members of the clergy talking about abortion on a Sunday in November just before the election. They never talk about abortion in July in a non election year. Why is this, because they fail to understand or care that for the church and for all of us regardless of our faith or lack of it, that abortion is an issue, a moral issue and not a political or legal issue… and when you separate these two realities you begin to understand that the debate or discussion over an abortion should be between a woman and her doctor and her pastor if she has one or choses to involve one, and not a women and a politician…

  11. Edwin Arndt 2016-01-25

    Bob, thanks for noticing.
    I’ll speak when I think it’s prudent to do so.
    So few are willing to stand up for moral standards these days
    and that is a tragedy.

  12. larry kurtz 2016-01-25

    There is absolutely nothing immoral about the choice to terminate a pregnancy. There is, however, a lack of moral outrage by excusing the chemical industry from triggering spontaneous abortions in women who want to take their pregnancies to term but are robbed of that opportunity.

  13. larry kurtz 2016-01-25

    Exposure to the Zika virus is enough reason to end a pregnancy.

  14. Jenny 2016-01-25

    Abortion has always been around and will always be around so stop your sunshiny thinking that if Roe vs Wade is over overturned (highly unlikely) women will magically stop having them. Poor women will die.
    SDBlue, I hear you, being from the same kind of cheesy Catholic family, and can understand the undue shame you and your parents would have felt if you would have told them of your pregnancy. Isn’t it sad and pathetic that the very church that preaches pro-life have treated millions of young unwed pregnant women this way? I had a sister that was planning to get married in the Church but the jerk priest wouldn’t marry them because they were living together.
    I have no time for a church that treats its congregants that way.

  15. mike from iowa 2016-01-25

    Wnose moral code are you basing this gibberish on? If you are a talibangelical or of the religious right your collective actions don’t tally up with your supposed belief in jesus as your lord and saviour. In fact,you are nearly polar opposites as near as I can tell. All i’m hearing is feed the wealthy and the hell with those in need. Republican platform 101.

  16. Bob Newland 2016-01-25

    Edwin, it is you who are cavalier. You parrot language and and attitude given you by someone else while having no knowledge of what it is like to have a growth inside you that you don’t want to be there.

    Yes, some people have consensual sex without taking precaution to prevent conception. For a woman pregnant as a result, an abortion is an unpleasant and inconvenient experience at best, and a punishment of sorts.

    You, however, seem to believe that a woman impregnated by her pervy uncle or a rapist, or even by her husband while practicing birth control, should be sentenced to 18 years of raising a child, or, at the very least, nine months of suffering pregnancy, and a life irrevocably changed for the worse.

    To you, it’s god’s will, and the ills visited on mother and child alike are justice.

    Go, Edwin, and do what you can to convince folks to avoid unwanted pregnancies and abortions (if things go south on the unwanted part of that). Talk about morals if you want. But please don’t advocate laws that do nothing except attack the poorest of women, those who will be most devastated by being required to bring an unwanted child in a world populated partly by people like you.

  17. M.K. 2016-01-25

    I am a woman and have 3 daughters. I want them to have the right to choose about their own body and their own life. Single or married, raped or not; incest or problematic pregnancies; it is a woman’s choice and hers alone. I don’t want my or anyone else’s tax dollars or time spent on this issue in legislature. It has no place there. This issue will always be black and white. Everyone is entitled to their views. There are so many fragments to this issue. If a woman is forced to carry a baby to term and it will require life-support to live and the woman and the physician know this — who has the right to force her to take this pregnancy to term? If she was a victim of rape or incest and a victim of impoverishment — will you whip out your check books and pay for the care of the baby — FOREVER — and for her?? Out of both sides of mouths comes some illusionary pragmatic thought that we should force women to carry babies BUT let’s also crucify them as they are forced into rolling onto and into welfare conditions because they are forced into circumstances such as problematic pregnancies. Thank you to those of you, that support women’s rights and stand up for respecting women’s rights.

  18. mike from iowa 2016-01-25

    Some on the anti-choice side take “suffer the little children” literally after they are forced to be born.

    Thanks for your side M. K. and to SDBlue and all other women standing up for their personal rights. I stand with all women which ever choice they,themselves make-to or not to.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-25

    Edwin is on to something here with his comments about moral standards and personal responsibility, now let’s apply it where it needs to be.
    From what I understand, there is only one abortion provider in the whole state and he is from Minn. and come in maybe weekly. That would lead to believe that he doesn’t abort many fetuses.
    Now let’s apply moral standard and personal responsibility to South Dakota state government and its republican politicians.
    This state has been exposed as one of the most corrupt in the union as evidenced by Cory’s relentless investigations.
    We hear republicans pontificate and preach about abortion, but when it comes to the theft and corruption of millions of dollars they remain silent. Where is their personal responsibility and moral obligation to stop corruption and prosecute the guilty?
    I’ll not be dissuaded by any abortion debate, 2nd Amendment debate, or anything else since those have such little impact as to how we develop as a state.
    By all means Edwin, let’s talk about personal responsibility and moral standards, but let’s apply them to the money republicans are stealing from us and the cowards that refuse to investigate and prosecute.

  20. Chris S. 2016-01-25

    Ah yes. Forced-Birthers with solemn talk about “responsibility,” and glib talk about the government enforcing morality. What it boils down to is this, a shorter right-wing guide to Forced Pregnancy:

    “Babies are a beautiful gift from God, and you should be punished with one, you dirty slut.”

    That’s what it always comes down to, as evidenced by the airy waving away of any concerns about the mother’s health, or (God forbid) her own autonomy. And once the child is born? Well, you’re on your own! Should’ve thought about that before you got pregnant! As Randi Rhodes used to say: “Love the fetus, hate the child.”

  21. Edwin A Arndt 2016-01-25

    Roger, thank you for a bit of agreement. Moral standards and personal responsibility need
    to be applied wherever appropriate.
    For the record,I had a Christian upbringing and hold Christian beliefs of which I am not
    ashamed and for which I do not apologize. It does sadden me that long held Christian beliefs
    are now so openly and brazenly mocked. I stopped calling myself a republican during the
    early years of the George W. Bush administration. I now consider myself an independant.

    I think we are all a bit poorer if our only standards are legal technicalities. I believe
    there are moral imperatives that are of greater importance.
    Please note that I always referred to consensual sex. I, personally, would be willing
    to make an exception for rape, incest and if the life of the mother is at stake. I realize that there are those who would not
    make that distinction.
    This will be my final post on this subject, at least for now. Thank you all for
    your comments.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-25

    Edwin, my standards are not legal technicalities. Neither is the Constitution.

    I hold a range of moral and philosophical opinions on a range of subjects. However, I do not feel the need to have the Legislature affirm all of my standards as law. Winston and Bob aptly note the distinction between moral duties and legal obligations.

    Legislating sex and consequences of sex is unworkable without destroying privacy, dignity, and autonomy. Sex and the consequences of sex are none of the Legislature’s business. M.K.’s and everyone else’s daughters’ reproductive choices are none of my business, whether I’m a legislator, a teacher, a friend of the family, or just a nosy neighbor. They have to make their own moral decisions and live with their own consciences.

  23. grudznick 2016-01-25

    Mr. H’s best small government post ever is up there above mine. Right there ^

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-25

    There is still a Libertarian/Republican conservative inside me. I occasionally find him useful.

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