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SD Right to Life Distributing Out-of-State Flyers Opposing Assisted Suicide Petition

Call Speaker Mickelson! Out-of-staters are trying again to co-opt South Dakota’s ballot question process!

The South Dakota Right to Life booth at the Brown County Fair is handing out this flyer to oppose the Death with Dignity South Dakota petition to place an assisted suicide measure on our 2018 ballot:

SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.
SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.
SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.
SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.

The document was handed to me by nice local ladies volunteering for a South Dakota organization headed by Fred Deutsch, who has formed “Suicide Is Suicide,” one of the three ballot question committees (the other two are based in Sioux Falls and Seattle) already organized to oppose a ballot measure that isn’t even done petitioning yet and whose circulators I have not yet encountered at the Brown County Fair. But the document is not specific to the South Dakota proposal; it is actually a copy of an infographic prepared by Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide to lobby against legislation proposed in Maryland.

Credit on SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.
Credit on SD Right to Life flyer, distributed at Brown County Fair, Aberdeen, SD, 2017.08.18.

This document bears the above credit to the Maryland organization in small type almost lost in the dark background. It also bears the logo of Patients Rights Action Fund, a New Jersey-based organization.

As of end-of-business Friday, neither the Maryland group nor the New Jersey fund is listed as a ballot question committee recognized in South Dakota on the Secretary of State’s campaign finance website. Neither credit appears to comply with South Dakota’s political communications statute, SDCL 12-27-15, which requires that (emphasis mine) “Any printed material or communication made, purchased, paid for, or authorized by a candidate or political committee that disseminates information concerning a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall prominently display or clearly speak the statement: “Paid for by (name of candidate or political committee).”

I’m sure Speaker Mickelson, avid opponent of out-of-state expenditures (and not quite as avid an opponent of dark money from unknown donors) will be contacting his former legislative colleague Deutsch to find out who exactly is paying for this intrusion on South Dakota’s ballot question process.


  1. Donald Pay 2017-08-19 10:06

    Great reporting, Cory. The worse problem is dark money from unknown donors, but clearly that is a professionally produced flyer that cost the Maryland group a chunk of money. If they gave the SD group permission to use the flyer that is a donation, the value of which would have to include the cost to produce the flyer.

  2. Porter Lansing 2017-08-19 10:15

    Good catch, Cory. As a research nerd I decided to check the validity of the assertions made in Mr. Deutsch’s out of state handout. None of the things said on this sheet are true and none of the things are supported by the footnotes down at the bottom, nearly illegible. Here’s the truth, Fred. And Fred, this isn’t the first time you’ve tried to trick the voters, is it?

    Footnote 1: The assertion is irrelevant and a false equivalency.
    Every state that has initiated AS legislation as a ballot question has passed it. In Colorado the ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly, by a two-thirds, one-third split.

    Footnote 2: The assertion is wrong. Guidelines for disposal are provided with each prescription filled.
    Washington State Department of Health, Death with Dignity Act Frequently Asked Questions.

    Footnote 3: The assertion is wrong. Anyone who chooses not to ingest a prescribed dose or anyone in possession of any portion of the unused dose must dispose of the dose in a legal manner as determined by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency or their state laws. Guidelines are provided with each prescription filled.

    Footnote 4: The assertion is wrong. The South Dakota inititive has NO requirement that the state pay for AS medications.

    Footnote 5: The assertion is wrong.
    This article from Medscape has NO mention of the assertion that “Just reading about AS can serve as a trigger.”

    Footnote 6: The assertion is wrong. Only patients with six months to live or less qualify for AS medication. Depression screening and mental health evaluation are performed by the patient’s physician before the required terminal diagnosis. However, if the attending or consulting physician requests an evaluation, the psychiatrist or psychologist must complete a Psychiatric/Psychological Consultant Compliance Form and the attending physician must file this form within 30 days of writing the prescription.
    If the attending or consulting physician (or the psychiatrist or psychologist, if a referral is made) determines that a patient does not meet the qualifications to receive a prescription for medication under chapter 70.245 RCW, no forms have to be submitted to the department.
    Washington State Department of Health, Death with Dignity Act Report 2015 pg.11

    Footnote 7: The assertion is wrong. Nowhere on page 11 is this issue addressed.
    Washington State Department of Health, Death with Dignity Act Report 2015 pg.11

    Footnote 8: The assertion is deceptive.
    South Dakota’s highest risk for suicide
    de (young males less than 25 years of age and American Indians) aren’t the target recipients of AS medication.

  3. owen reitzel 2017-08-19 13:49

    I’m sure in this case it’s ok Cory. (SARCASAM)

  4. Mrs. Nelson 2017-08-19 17:04

    You would have seen DwD petitioners if we’d have been allowed our booth share or allowed to be anywhere near the fair. They’d had good fortune Thursday near Centennial but today I was told I can’t even be by Centennial and had to be on the road. Then I was told to *swearword* off by a lovely BCF-goer.

  5. Angie 2017-08-19 19:24

    I find it so funny that Feed is still working so hard to lie to everyone regarding the iniative. I am shocked he still hasn’t reached out to me directly. Thanks for this article. I am going to see if I can get my hand on one of these flyers and I will create one to speak to the TRUTH.

  6. Angie 2017-08-19 19:27

    Sorry, phone autocorrrected. *Fred.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-19 19:46

    Incredible! Who told you you can’t engage in First Amendment activities on public ground?

  8. Spencer 2017-08-19 20:47

    So, the suicide death cult was too cheap to actually pay for a booth at the Brown County Fair? They opted to harass people at the Centennial Village instead? I wonder why people were less than impressed with that behavior. Cory, I think your real story here is how pro-pot people are being duped into getting people to sign a petition that even they do not understand or bother to read. If they only understood that they were signing on to Angie and Mentele’s final solution for the sick, disabled, and unwanted, they might think twice about it.

  9. Curt 2017-08-19 23:59

    No, Angie, I think the phone was prescient … Fred will attempt to FEED to the rest of us whatever trash they FEED him.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-20 07:51

    Now, Spencer, there you go again, using the elitist Republican line of contending that other people aren’t smart enough to participate in democracy….

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-20 07:53

    …and “final solution”? Oh, you and your subtle Nazi references. Trumpy fascists are going to kill far more people than Angie and Melissa.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-20 07:54

    Porter’s evidenced takedown is spectacular. Angie, Melissa, keep Porter’s links handy. It appears Fred and Right to Life are the ones who don’t understand the petition. Ah, sweet Republican projection… akin perhaps to the guilt they feel over their own sexual behavior which they then project onto other women with laws punishing sex.

  13. Angie 2017-08-20 08:05

    Cory, I will address my comments to you, since you are educated in the measure and actually speak the truth regarding it.
    I will keep Porter’ s link handy. :) Thanks for pointing out the truth!! Some people love to feed people fear and lies and enjoy bashing others to push their own agenda. It’s a sad day that this has become the new “nornal” in America of how to treat people. Sad sad. #spreadlove. We fight for ALL peoples personal rights. Can these other people say the same? I think not.

  14. jerry 2017-08-20 09:46

    Fred, the “feed”, feeds fake news and fake reporting exactly like the Nazi propaganda machines they copy. Fred, the feed, is also an active supporter of assisted suicide by supporting the end of Medicaid as well as the non support of Medicaid Expansion. Thanks to his and the rest of the Nazi support of denying medical care to hundreds of South Dakotan’s, they assisted in their deaths. Fred has blood on his hands as do the rest of the cabal that denies healthcare to those who have none through the legislature’s failure. Fred has no right to do anything but resign. Before Fred does resign, he should come clean and tell people how many pieces of silver he received for this betrayal of trust and who opened the cash vault.

  15. Mrs. Nelson 2017-08-20 10:47

    I was told I could not petition at the BCF by two blue shirt fair staffers in a golf cart, Cory. Told I can’t be near Centennial, can’t even be by the tires that block off the motorcycle parking area at the south entrance and that I had to be ‘off the entrance road and on the sidewalk’ outside of the parking area. I’m not impressed.

  16. Porter Lansing 2017-08-20 12:01

    “Just reading about Assisted Suicide can serve as a trigger for those contemplating suicide.” From what I’ve read over on the Catholic Blog, this is the scariest and most influential of the false claims made in Fred Deutsch’s out-of-state handout. Footnote five directs you to Medscape which requires a membership to access. I joined for us and here’s the article. I’ve read it three times and nowhere does it say that just reading about Death With Dignity laws affects anything. It’s an article directed to pharmacists on how to guide their way through the Oregon law.
    [I can no longer give Fred Deutsch the benefit of the doubt. Too many times he’s tried to mislead, misdirect and flat out lie about this issue. People with free will making their own choices isn’t in his out of state mentality. Telling people what to do without choices is his paradigm.]

  17. mike from iowa 2017-08-20 13:06

    What is it called when wingnuts jerk insurance away from the least among us? Pre-meditated murder?

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-08-21 09:37

    Mrs. Nelson, did they tell you why you could not be there? Public officials can issue restrictions on time, place, and manner but not on content. If the basis of their eviction was the fact that you were discussing politics, they are in clear violation of well-established First Amendment case law.

    They definitely have no control over the sidewalk. That’s public right of way. As long as you don’t block traffic, you have every legal right to be there, to talk to passersby, and to collect signatures.

    Brown County continues to risk provoking a candidate or committee that has the desire and cash to lawyer up and take the county to court for its unconstitutional restrictions. I know your ballot question sponsors have better things to do with their money right now than go to court, but if you had extra funds, you would win.

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