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SDRTL Loves Reading My Blog, But Misses How I’m More Pro-Life Than Novstrup

I may not win South Dakota Right to Life’s endorsement, but at least they find me more interesting than my opponent in the District 3 Senate race.

As eager reader Joe Nelson notices, South Dakota Right to Life has published its 2016 general election voting guide. The guide puts the lie to occasional claims that South Dakota Right to Life is about issues beyond abortion; SDRTL’s candidate profiles discuss almost nothing but abortion.

SDRTL recognized my blog as a reliable source in its 2016 primary voting guide. SDRTL now shows they respect my blog enough to pore through my thousands of posts looking for candidates’ statements on abortion. For my own profile, SDRTL leads with my August 7, 2016, fifty-word response on why I am pro-life and pro-choice. Some of my commenters thought those fifty words covered everything. SDRTL wanted more and added statements I have made on the punitive nature of abortion waiting periods. They reprint a quote from a comment I make supporting a post on a strange intersection of abortion and racial politics.

Most interestingly, SDRTL exceprts a comment I made on “abortion crusaders'” objectification of embryos as “tool[s] to punish women for having sex,” but SDRTL omits the immediately subsequent statement—”A prisoner is a tool for satisfying their bloodlust.”

To be clear, SDRTL accurately quotes my words in every instance, and I stand by every one of those words.

But context matters. I made the above comparison of abortion politics and death-penalty politics after a reader brought up the question that I allude to above—why don’t “right to life” organizations spend more time dealing with other life-and-death issues like the death penalty, war, poverty, and healthcare? The original post that prompted the comment focused not on abortion but on four bills before the 2015 Legislature seeking to temper South Dakota’s use of the death penalty. Had SDRTL widened its lens, it would have seen that I oppose the death penalty. The post even includes quotes and video of my District 3 opponent, Rep. Al Novstrup, defending the death penalty… meaning that, on this issue, I’m more pro-life than Al Novstrup.

That February 2015 post demonstrates that SDRTL’s relatively meager commentary on Al Novstrup misses the bigger picture:

Rep. Al Novstrup (R) •received an A rating from SDRTL for his 100% pro-life legislative voting record in 2015-16, 2013-14, and 2011-12 [SDRTL, 2016 General Election Voter Guide, 2016.08.23]

Al’s “100% pro-life voting record” depended on those four death penalty bills all dying in committee, before he had to cast a vote. Had any one of those bills reached the House floor, Al would have had to show us what his specious “not that I support the death penalty, but I support the opportunity for the death penalty” really meant in practical voting terms, and his vote quite likely would have been for continuing to kill some convicts.

SDRTL also misses the fact that I’ll be more pro-life on crime and punishment than the Senator I’ll replace, David Novstrup, who voted against repealing the death penalty in 2014.

Dang—maybe I can get some SDRTL votes after all.