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Senate Passes 22-Week Abortion Ban; Eight Republicans Resist

Don’t expect me to celebrate the Senate’s mild watering dow of the fetal-pain abortion ban yesterday. Senate Bill 72 is still a bad bill, based on bad science, and treading where the Legislature has no right to tread, on women’s constitutional right to control their own bodies and decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.

Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton and Senator Jim Peterson (from District 4, where abortion-distraction politics is a blood sport) forgot where they hang their hats and voted for the now 22-week abortion ban. But the rest of the Democrats and eight Republicans voted against SB 72. Republican Senator Deb Peters channeled my thoughts nicely:

“I will tell you that we have no businesses passing pieces of legislation like this, that gets in the way of family decisions, and the family decision between the mother, and the family, and the doctor,” Peters says. “This is personal folks. Yes, we’re trying to protect that unborn child. But I will tell you that families in this state are also trying to protect that unborn child. This bill has no business being here today” [Jenifer Jones, “Senators Pass Bill Banning Abortions After 22 Weeks,” SDPB Radio, 2016.02.23].

Thank you, Senator Peters, for being willing to push back against the abortion distractors who would have government intrude on families’ medical decisions and impose one group’s anti-sex agenda on every woman in the state.


  1. Tim 2016-02-24 07:38

    Great, more of our tax dollars wasted in court defending bad legislation.

  2. Mark Winegar 2016-02-24 07:52

    This is very disappointing news. When will legislators begin to pay attention to science? The American Medical Association disagrees with the assumption that infants are capable of feeling pain before the third trimester.

  3. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 08:37

    How does a no regulation, small government, stay out of our business, Republican controlled state senate reconcile passing the most invasive far-reaching government intrusion into the medical and personal decisions of women, families and their doctors? How do you say keep government out of my business on the one hand, but put government squarely in the relationship between a woman and her doctor on the other? How do you say don’t over-regulate financial markets, guns, the environment, CAFO’s and property rights, but force a woman to take a non-viable fetus to term? Hypocrisy does not even begin to cover this.

    I would encourage everyone to watch the debate that took place on this bill. It is shocking to me that the proponents of this bill would ignore the advice from the AMA, doctors, nurses and medical professionals and ignore the powerful and emotional stories of how this bill would interfere with deeply personal decisions at often the most difficult time of one’s life. The proponents of this bill don’t care about narrowly crafting regulation of abortion. It is an ideological war for them and to heck with the consequences to women and families.

    Once again the extreme right has taken an idea that most support, taking reasonable steps to make abortion rare and a last resort, and turned it into a perverse invasion of the doctor-patient relationship during times of agonizing decisions about life and death. Who has more to worry about Big Government: Tea-party types imagining Obama coming for their guns or women who just watched the state senate say the government is going to regulate their bodies?

  4. Charlie Johnson 2016-02-24 09:31

    Sen. Peters is to be thanked . She also voted against the transgender bill.

  5. Eve Fisher 2016-02-24 10:14

    Darin, we women have known for a long time now that the only thing Republicans (and Libertarians of the Ron/Rand Paul ilk) want to regulate is us.

  6. Paul Seamans 2016-02-24 10:17

    In some committee debates all that is needed to kill a bill is to make a credible threat that if the bill is passed there will be lawsuits waiting. However proponents of abortion related legislation seem to welcome a lawsuit even though they are pretty sure that a bill/law will be declared unconstitutional.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 10:31

    Darin, you identify a key misfire in South Dakota GOP thinking. They talk about being the anti-government party, but that’s a ruse to cover the fact that they want government act big and bad on their behalf to impose their morality on everyone else. I agree with Charlie: Senator Peters (a Madison gal!) deserves credit for standing up to the Naughty Parts Cops and voting against SB 72 and HB 1008. We need more Republicans to get clear on their principles… or more voters to realize the tricks Republicans are playing on us with their “principles”.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 10:32

    Paul, yes, legislators’ tolerance for litigation seems contingent on which way they want to vote. Again, Republicans love to spend government money on lawsuits that suit their ideological agenda.

  9. Paul Seamans 2016-02-24 10:42

    Cory, speaking of Madison, yesterday the Capitol was crawling with Madison fourth graders. Very well behaved and very interested in learning. One of the teachers has been doing this for seventeen years and received special recognition from the Senate floor. A good example for other schools. I was quite impressed.

  10. Ed Campbell & Betty Nelson 2016-02-24 11:15

    (Let me express my agreement with the previous comments. Just thought we could add our impressions we formed by watching these proceedings the Senate gallery yesterday. Most impressive was Sen. Peters’ “David vs. Goliath” confrontation with the establishment yesterday. Also, that eight Republicans had the courage to stand against their party’s orthodoxy.)
    We were looking for something different to occupy our afternoon yesterday. Living a few blocks from the Capitol, we thought that watching the legislature might be somewhat amusing. We did not expect the high drama which unfolded in the Senate when the abortion bill was discussed. Our hearts went out to those Senators who so eloquently reopened some extremely painful episodes from their personal lives – most notably, when Senator Peters said that “this bill has no business being here today!” After feeling only a tiny fraction of the pain that she expressed, our hearts were sure that no human being with a modicum of decency or compassion would vote for that bill.
    But, my eyes and my brain were telling me a different story: Most of the senators in that chamber were keeping their attention steadfastly on their desks during these presentations, i.e. Senators Monroe and Greenfield, et al. They seemed to just be waiting for those inconvenient “speeches” to be finished, and could not look their colleagues in the eye. They then did what my brain expected and showed that their political dogma trumped whatever humanity those speeches might have aroused and passed the bill. With 14 of the senators sponsoring the bill, I guess I should not have expected anything else; but to witness them flaunting their numerical superiority in the faces of their colleagues who had just opened some very painful chapters in their personal lives, seemed most cold and heartless.

  11. Tasiyagnunpa 2016-02-24 11:38

    Paul, fighting the government over abortion is akin to the sagebrush whackos. These Confederate-flag wavers salivate for any opportunity to prove how discriminated against they are for being Christians.

    If any of them really freaking cared about preventing late term abortion, stop screwing with our rights to Plan B, to regular birth control, send county health office money for family planning services, stop telling teenagers they have to have parental permission, stop slut shaming, and stop the hoops to jump through for an abortion in the first place, which any OBGYN would tell you is SAFE the EARLIER it is done…which is more ethical for the fetus in question, as well. And BEFORE you do all that, actually show children in school videos about fetal development and stop with abstinent only sex-ed even in schools that dare to sex-ed at all.

    Oh, and put the ability to have an abortion in every single OBGYN office in this state and stop funding hospital systems, Avera, that refuse to do so for religious reasons (Avera doesn’t even allow a man to get a vasectomy, either, in it’s system unless the WIFE is proved to have health issues).

  12. Ed Campbell 2016-02-24 12:47

    You’re welcome Cory,
    Thanks for sending Senator Monroe’s closing comments. I couldn’t tell just what he was saying as he was mumbling very softly. (As if not terribly proud of his position?) BTW, have not been terribly involved lately; but are our district 24 legislators still running unopposed?

  13. Stumcfar 2016-02-24 13:03

    Peters says, “we are also trying to protect the unborn child.” By killing it!!!!!

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 13:06

    Ed, according to the Secretary of State’s candidate list, Sen. Monroe and Rep. Duvall are running for reëlection. No other candidates have filed for District 24. You have five weeks left—round up some Pierre Dems and run!

  15. Bob Newland 2016-02-24 18:42

    Billie Sutton? WTF?

  16. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 20:25

    You got to hand it to this legislature, they are consistent in a strange and unheralded sort of way.

    After ignoring the medical testimony on the abortion ban yesterday, they ignored the medical testimony and definitive studies that showed that tanning beds cause cancer in kids. HB 1124 would have prohibited the use of tanning devices by minors based on the fact that they emit UV type A rays that injure the basal cells in the skin. Translation: this is a lot worse than sun tanning. Scientists have determined that kids are especially harmed by tanning because of their thinner skin and still developing bodies.

    Its one thing for adults to decide the cancer risk is one that they are willing to take. Its quite another for kids under 18 who are not even required to have parental consent to subject themselves to increased cancer risks while tanning. I guess 59% higher rates of skin cancer for kids that tan is not enough to bother the legislature.

    The interesting thing to me is that the tanning industry is only dependent upon minors for 5-10% of their revenue. And the industry also offers spray tanning which would be a viable healthy option for minors.

    But the legislature is not going to let dermatologists tell us what is supported by science anymore than they will let an Ob/Gyn. doctor.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 23:00

    No tan ban? Science, like personal stories and concerns about Constitutionality, is a mere rhetorical club for Republicans to wield selectively, not a principle to obey consistently.

  18. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 23:24

    No tan ban. But the SD legislature believes in sound science-based decision making. Don’t believe them? They just passed a joint resolution urging the Feds to use sound science in their decision-making. I think they will get a letter back that says “you, first.”

  19. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 23:52

    “Representative, are you a medical doctor qualified to speak about cancer and it’s causation via tanning beds for kids?” “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

  20. mike from iowa 2016-02-25 12:07

    “I’ve pledged, if I’m elected president, on the very first day in office, I intend to instruct the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal conduct by that organization,” he said. “It appears Planned Parenthood is a national criminal enterprise committing multiple felonies.”

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