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Sutton Lowers Pro-Choice Score to 17%—Any Reckoning to Come?

Sutton points to his preferred wing on abortion rights.
Sutton points to his preferred wing on abortion rights.

Senator Billie Sutton (D-21/Burke) had an opportunity last month to stand up for women and the First Amendment and vote against Senator Al Novstrup’s 9R-3/Aberdeen)  Senate Bill 110, an odious attack on Planned Parenthood and minor extension of the baloney that the Alpha Center and other forced fake counseling centers can tell women to browbeat them into not aborting their pregnancies.

Senator Billie Sutton did not avail himself of that opportunity. On February 6 he joined the Republican majority in voting for SB 110, which has since been signed by the Governor. Nine days later, Senator Sutton joined the Republican majority (and fellow Dems Frerichs and Nesiba) in supporting the toothless but telling Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, which declares that “pre-born” children have an “inalienable” right to live from conception and declares Roe v. Wade an “assault” on that right. This vote is consistent with Sutton’s vote in 2013 for a resolution that called for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

With the 2018 Session over, I can thus update my table of Sutton’s votes on abortion-related bills and resolutions during his four terms in the Senate. As I did last summer, I bold the measures that strike me as more important in determining where a candidate stands on women’s right to access abortion services.

On twelve notable abortion bills and resolutions, Sutton voted to invade women’s privacy and make women’s decisions for them ten times.

Bill Title Pro-Choice Vote Sutton Vote Notes
2018 SB 110 increase the penalty for performing an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain. nay aye accuses Planned Parenthood of breaking the law by telling patients that “politicians” require them to recite mandatory anti-abortion propaganda
2018 SCR 3 Committing the Legislature and urging the Governor, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General to secure the blessings of life and liberty for South Dakota’s posterity. nay aye calls Roe v. Wade an “assault” on the right to life of every “pre-born” child and says that right begins at conception
2017 HB 1101 increase the penalty for performing an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain. nay nay increases penalty from C1 misdemeanor to C6 felony under 2016 SB 72 fetal pain bill
2017 SB 102 require that the name and telephone number of an organization fighting to end sex trafficking be given, in writing, to any woman seeking an abortion. nay aye passed 33-0 in Senate, 66-1 House, Tieszen only nay
2016 HB 1123 require the Department of Health to include certain information regarding the inspection of an abortion facility on the department’s website. nay aye passed 35-0 in Senate, 60-8 in House
2016 HB 1157 require that a doctor provide a woman additional information as a part of informed consent prior to performing an abortion. nay yea NARAL-PCSD said “medically unproven info”
2016 HB 1212 revise requirements related to pregnancy help centers. nay yea arguable: allows PHC to have social worker; puts PHC group in charge of regulating self
2016 SB 24 prohibit the sale of fetal body parts and to provide a penalty therefor. nay yea unanimous in both houses; culture war distraction
2016 SB 72 prohibit the abortion of an unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain and to provide a penalty therefor. nay yea NARAL-PCSD no; Senate 21-14, then 26-7 on House amendments
2015 HB 1079 revise the deadline for the Department of Health’s annual report regarding abortions. yea set deadline as Nov 15
2015 HB 1130 prohibit an abortion provider from accepting payment for an abortion prior to the end of the required informed consent period. nay yea unnecessary, insult to women
2015 HB 1155 require that information be provided to a pregnant mother whose child tests positive for Down syndrome. died in House
2015 HB 1156 prohibit the performance of abortions due to Down syndrome and to provide a penalty therefor. withdrawn in House cmte
2015 HB 1230 affirm the sanctity of human life. tabled in Senate cmte originally banning abortion by beheading
2014 HB 1162 prohibit the practice of sex-selective abortions, to establish certain procedures to better ensure that sex-selective abortions are not practiced in South Dakota, and to provide penalties therefor. nay yea compels speech
2014 HB 1180 provide that no entity that places children for adoption or performs abortions may be registered as a pregnancy help center. nay nay forces women to visit abortion opponents for counseling
2014 HB 1240 prohibit the performance of abortions due to Down syndrome and to provide a penalty therefor. died in House cmte
2014 HB 1241 prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children and to provide penalties therefore. died in House cmte
2013 HB 1237 revise certain provisions to abortion counseling. nay excused exclude weekends and holidays from 72-hour waiting period
2013 HCR 1002 Urging the United States Supreme Court to revisit the Roe v. Wade case and to overturn its decision. nay yea Overturn Roe v. Wade, and SD’s 2005 abortion ban becomes near total except health/life mother
2012 HB 1150 prohibit false advertising by limited services pregnancy centers and to provide for judicial relief. yea, but died in House cmte Gibson sponsored; Peters signed on as co-sponsor; Sutton did not
2012 HB 1185 prohibit all qualified health plans offered through a health care exchange from including abortion coverage. nay yea
2012 HB 1254 revise certain provisions pertaining to the decision of a pregnant mother considering termination of her relationship with her child by an abortion, to establish certain procedures to insure that such decisions are voluntary, uncoerced, and informed, and to revise certain causes of action for professional negligence relating to performance of an abortion. nay yea makes coercive counseling law worse
2012 HCR 1001 Recognizing the week of January 22, 2012, through January 28, 2012, as Reproductive Rights Awareness Week. yea, but died in House cmte Buhl, Frerichs, Maher, Peters sponsored; Sutton did not
2011 HB 1217 establish certain legislative findings pertaining to the decision of a pregnant mother considering termination of her relationship with her child by an abortion, to establish certain procedures to better insure that such decisions are voluntary, uncoerced, and informed, and to revise certain causes of action for professional negligence relating to performance of an abortion. nay yea forced counseling, 72-hour waiting period…

83% of Sutton’s votes on this issue have enacted or called for the further erosion of women’s rights.

John Tsitrian recognizes that the South Dakota Democratic establishment has mostly surrendered to the Republican narrative (subtitle: The Handmaid’s Tale) on abortion. Undermining women’s rights may play well with Republican fence-sitters, but Tsitrian says it could keep the party establishment from capturing enthusiasm from potential new members and voters:

…I haven’t found South Dakota-specific numbers, but on a national scale, Pew Research has found that young adults (18-39), by a 2-to-1 margin believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The next older group (30-49) agrees by a margin of about 3-to-2.

If these results are close to how South Dakota’s younger voters feel, Sutton probably has a problem. Question is, will this attitude be expressed with enough intensity to make a difference at the polls? Maybe, maybe not. My experience tells me that among a fair number of passionately committed young voters, it will be. I doubt that a large contingent of Dems would reject him outright, but believe that many will respond to him with a collective “meh.” Given the party registration gap between Democrats and Republicans (30% vs. 46%), on the enthusiasm front Sutton needs more, much more [John Tsitrian, “Can a Pro-Life Democrat Win in South Dakota? Billie Sutton Wants to Know,” The Constant Commoner, 2018.03.16].

Sutton has lost the vote of Antoinette Miller, who is running to recapture Paula Hawks’s old House seat in District 9:

Antoinette Miller, Tweet, 2018.03.02.
Antoinette Miller, Tweet, 2018.03.02.
Antoinette Miller, Tweet thread, 2018.03.02.
Antoinette Miller, Tweet thread, 2018.03.02.

That should make for a fun convention. Remind me to sit at Miller’s table, so I can get a clear view of the dirty looks she gets.

No Miller Democrat has risen to challenge Sutton to a primary, and with just a week and a day left until petitions are due, we’re at Kevin-Weiland-crunch time. Absent a primary challenger, we Democrats can choose between a Governor Sutton who might come around and a Governor Jackley or Governor Noem who has probably already pre-ordered the MAGA wimples.

I’m thus willing to tolerate the foul stench of Sutton’s anti-woman votes as an expression of his fealty to the District 21 voters who sent him to Pierre, on the condition that he apply the same principle to his Governorship. The voters who would send him to Pierre as Governor are the same voters who have twice rejected right-wing abortion bans. The women who vote for him overwhelmingly reject the propaganda masquerading as “informed consent” that Sutton has voted to force on women seeking abortions.

Senator Sutton, you’re effectively done representing District 21. You’re now seeking to represent this state. And this state has consistently rejected broader restrictions on abortion, contrary to your voting record. It’s time to come around. It’s time to support the Democratic Party’s platform plank that declares, “Every woman has the right to make her own medical decisions.”

It’s a lot to ask a guy to admit that, on a particular issue, he’s been wrong 83% of the time. But it’s a lot to ask candidates like Miller and voters in general to support a guy who’s been wrong on an important issue 83% of the time. Help us over that hump, Senator Sutton.


  1. Steve Hickey 2018-03-19

    Good to see Sutton aligning with science, which is not on the side of those who sell abortions and coerce woman to have them, and abandon them afterward.

    Cory you need to change your mind on this issue.

    Sutton’s pro-life record gives him a chance in November.

    South Dakota is not a pro-abortion state. The results of both 2006 and 2008 votes are frequently misinterpreted as proof that a majority of South Dakotans support abortion as back up birth control. Not so. What actually happened is that the vote/deabte was entirely on the exceptions to abortion – 2006… no exceptions was too much for some who detest abortion,,, and 2008… that there were exceptions was a compromise SD RTL couldn’t even stomach so they joined with Planned Parenthood to oppose the ban.

    What is true is that a majority of the state does not hold your view on abortion. Because of that fact, this is an issue that will gain Sutton middle of the road voters, even Republican votes I’d think if Jackley is the nominee. If it were Sutton v Jackley, Sutton would be the only consistent pro-life candidate of the two. If that becomes the race, I think you’ll see Republicans for Sutton come out of the woodwork, but without Sutton’s pro-life record his Republican support would be near zero.

  2. Dana P 2018-03-19

    “sell abortions and coerce women to have them” Sigh. Mr Hickey, I’m aware of several women who have utilized their constitutionally protected right and their FREEDOM to make decisions about their own bodies. No way were they ever coerced. Never. Sell abortions? Jeezuz, you are off your rocker.

    “aligning with science”. Ummm, so you are saying many doctors don’t “align” with science? What?

    2006/2008 votes are “frequently misinterpreted”…….and I stopped reading. People like you and our legislature —— are in lockstep on this. If you/they don’t agree with what South Dakota voters voted for in the voting booth, you start the “this can’t be right” mantra. This was evidenced even more in the 2016 election with the legislature overturning how SD voters voted. In 2006/2008, many republicans were also elected. So, were THOSE votes misinterpreted?

    “birth control as back up birth control” — oh brother. Speaking of something that doesn’t align with science.

    I’m disappointed that Mr Sutton comes down this way on women’s rights. Very disappointed. While it is “tempting” to not vote for him because of this, I won’t. The lessons of that kind of thinking is how we as a country are paying for the moron that sits in the White House right now. I am going to continue to push Mr Sutton on this issue and show him the ACTUAL science (not the ridiculous stuff that Mr Hickey likes to point out)

    No one “likes” abortion. Taking proactive steps (education, birth control, etc) prevents unwanted pregnancies, thus, reduces abortion. Isn’t that the goal? I want to read/learn more about Mr Sutton’s beliefs on birth control. Instead of supporting these so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” (which go AGAINST science), I would like to see Mr Sutton start looking at the facts on those – and make moves to get rid of them.

  3. South DaCola 2018-03-19

    This has been my biggest complaint about a lot of Dems running for office in SD, Anti-Choice, card carrying members of the NRA. Tim and Billie should just pull that bandaid off already and go register as pro-education Republicans, they would get more votes.

    You know what they call a South Dakota Democrat? A Minnesota Republican.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-19

    Steve, no state is a pro-abortion state. No person speaking here is pro-abortion.

    However, twice the majority of South Dakotans have rejected measures that would have the state make blanket medical decisions for almost all women.

    Steve and I will never have to make the choice to abort a pregnancy or not. It’s not our place to make that decision for any woman who faces that choice. It is possible that a woman might choose to consult with Steve or me and seek our guidance, but only upon invitation do we have any right to offer our advice to any specific woman. We have no right to make that choice for her. The state has no such right, either.

  5. jerry 2018-03-19

    Kind of limits the difference between Billie and the other two regarding guns and abortion. Might be a smart thing as the republican cannot paint him in the corner with those corny black and white tee vee ads with the Jaws music in the background.

    So now, Billie should go after the heart and soul of what is wrong with the state and how backward our thinking is. Go after Medicaid Expansion to protect our disabled, or elderly and those children that may or may not be born. Go after corruption and the complete disregard of the voters demands. Billie got the Hickey vote and should use the words of the wandering Scotsman himself. Billie needs to ask voters how they have been doing in the last 40 years compared to say, damned near everyone in every state. He should ask them how a badly managed PUC can simply eliminate renewable energy projects to protect the utility companies that are raking us over the coals with ever increasing approved rates. There are many things to vote on besides abortion or guns, like the pocketbooks and their future. It is the economy, always. Come November, this abortion vote will be like a snail’s fart, insignificant. Maybe we will vote on the real issues that affect South Dakotan’s to put someone in that will actually change them for the better.

  6. Loren 2018-03-19

    Another SD election where I wish “none of the above” were an option.

  7. Kathy Tyler 2018-03-19

    I totally agree with Jerry. And I have a really hard time with one issue political stances. Just saying.

  8. o 2018-03-19

    I agree with Jerry too. Now that Sutton cannot be dismissed because “he’s coming for our guns” or “killing babies,” the election has to be about issues deeper than the knee jerk dismissal from those big two. Too many excellent candidates have been dismissed for failing the SD litmus test on those two issues. So, if that those are NOT what the election is about, what IS it about?

  9. jerry 2018-03-19

    Thank you Ms. Tyler and to you o, if we are not gonna be squawking about the non political issue of abortion, how about Net Neutrality for one? That actually means much to the citizens of South Dakota, more so than guns or abortion, for that matter. Our economic development in rural areas in particular, is dependent on a fast and reliable internet service. We do have some forward thinking in that regard with Senate Bill 195, but that needs more teeth from Billie regarding full throated support for that kind of bill without doubt. It is the economy, the real economy issues of bread and butter. This is a winner. Go get’um sir.

  10. Ben Cerwinske 2018-03-19

    I agree with Jerry as well. Most people in this state aren’t going to see Sutton’s vote as “anti-woman”. Some might argue that intent doesn’t matter. I can understand that to a point, but come November, fence-sitters may be more likely to see Sutton as the pro-woman candidate then someone from the party of Trump.

  11. Tiffany Campbell 2018-03-19

    I will not concede on the abortion issue, I will not vote for Sutton or Bjorkeman. Abortion saved one of my twin’s life. When pro-choice voters hold their nose and vote for an anti-choice/anti-woman dem candidate women’s rights will continue to be stripped away. Case in point, the fetal care center in Ohio that performed the life saving selective termination of my twins can longer perform that procedure due to new abortion laws. All 5 of my doctors have left Ohio to work in a state that doesn’t restrict the medical care they can offer their patients. At the time of my abortion in 2006, the Ohio clinic was the number 1 clinic in the country that treated cases of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Now all my doctors are gone. I did not share my abortion story in 2006 and 2008 to turn around and vote for a candidate that does not respect me enough to allow me to make my own medical decisions. I worked too hard and suffered a lot of ridicule (I am directing that at you, Hickey), therefore I refuse to turn my back on women and girls and vote for an anti-choice/woman democrat just because “at least they aren’t republican”.

  12. Jenny 2018-03-19

    I know SD GOP women that have had abortions, so it’s easy for the GOP to holler that you’re against abortion, especially in SD where it gets you automatically elected. It’s a good thing there is patient confidentiality because the GOP men would keel over from heart attacks if they only knew……

  13. jerry 2018-03-19

    Abortion was a life saver for you Ms. Campbell, so there is no turning of the back. As a woman, and as a mother, you of course have every right to make your voice heard loud and clear. So vote your conscience, on a that single matter. Sometimes you must weigh out the entire picture though to see which one of the two would represent you better on all matters. Whatever your choice, and for whatever reason you have, that choice must be respected.

    BTW, what state did the good doctors make their way to?

  14. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-03-19

    There is a political vacuum within the South Dakota Democratic Party. Just look at our last three gubernatorial nominees. In 2010, we groomed some Republicans and called them “Democrats” and that failed. Then we ran two pro-choice women in 2014 as the gubernatorial ticket, which then failed. Now we are going to run a pro life west river legislator in 2018 to see if that works….. We are sending mixed signals my friends as Democrats to the South Dakota electorate. It appears that we are just throwing things at the wall in hope that something sticks and gives us a beach front against the Republicans. But this strategy by default or plan is not going to work. We need to start finding the votes by doing the math to win elections again statewide – if we ever want to be relevant again in South Dakota that is.

    This means a serious GOTV and voter registration drive and effort that does not end on election day. Our first realistic goal should be to tighten up races to scare the Republicans, which will cause the Republican “A” team to be less willing to run overtime; which in turn, will mean that the Republicans will start giving us their “B” and “C” teams more often – teams which we can beat through better organizational efforts that will also allow us to institute more truthful and coherent positions, that will then makes us even more credible with the South Dakota voter. The day we stop manipulating and start organizing is the day Democrats in South Dakota will start winning, but until then, we as Democrats are just buying a lottery ticket with our efforts and hoping to win regardless of our odds…..

    As far as Rev. Hickey’s comments, well, there is a reason why conservative Fall River County voted down efforts in ’06 and ’08 to further restrict a woman’s right to an abortion by a greater margin, than the more liberal Minnehaha County, because Fall River County conservatives genuinely understood the libertarian argument at hand when it comes to a woman’s right to choice. And my guess, it is also the reason why the great conservative Senator, Barry Goldwater, voted against a Constitutional amendment to outlaw abortions back in 1983 too….. No one is for abortion, but a majority want a legislature consisting of a woman and her doctor to have the final say and not a bunch of middle age men in Pierre or elsewhere making that final decision….. Fall River understood that argument back in ’06 and ’08, it is time other conservatives in this state understood the message too and obviously some Democrats in this state as well…..

  15. jerry 2018-03-19

    Why does it have to be an election about choice? If that is the case, the election is over as long as the law of the land is Roe v Wade. There was a reason Connor Lamb won in ruby red Pennsylvania, he did not get into the weeds of pointless abortion trap schemes.

    As long as Democrats rise to the bait of the chum tossed overboard by republicans, the election is then lost. You are correct that women voted this stuff down and that Fall River was a leader in doing so, they do get it. We need to all get it as well and still do the GOTV in earnest, but to go into the looser debate over abortion is not only silly, it is self defeating. Good for Billie Sutton to not go there as it is now proven dumb politics. Billie seems to realize that a Democrat will never win a statewide election if they get caught in the bear traps called abortion and guns.

  16. Jenny 2018-03-19

    But Connor Lamb is really a pub so says the pubs.

  17. jerry 2018-03-19

    In trumps world, everything is opposite. No Russian collusion/ actual Russian collusion. No Stormy Daniels/ va voom, Stormy Daniels… That is how it works.

  18. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-03-19

    “If a voter has a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, he’ll vote for the Republican every time.”

    Harry S. Truman

    Is the recent special election in PA an exception to this rule? Maybe. Or, it could be that Trump is the exception which makes this possible and if that reality can even transcend to South Dakota as well, then that is a reality or strategy doomed to fail in short time because we played the odds and never really organized along our beliefs…. Because at some point we must ask ourselves as a political party`, “What’s it all about Alfie?”….. And I think this is a good time to ask that question…..

  19. jerry 2018-03-19

    Harry S. Truman did not have a whole lot of Independents to deal with in his terms.

    “Is it just for the moment we live?” Indeed, is it just for the moment or is it bigger than Democrats themselves? Do Democrats run to just say they are running or do they have a message to voters that transcends party? Registered Democrats are not so many and will need to depend on social republicans and more importantly, Independents to ever stand a chance of winning in South Dakota. So how does one do that? You do that by sticking to the points that matter most, populism. Stick to the bread and butter and you will be sitting at the table passing the gravy. Go into the weeds of abortion and guns and you will get ticks. Go for Medicaid Expansion, Net Neutrality, renewable energy promotions, all of these show economic gains with higher wages. Things that will make a difference in South Dakotan’s pocket books and provide good jobs to fill state tax revenues.

  20. Toni 2018-03-19

    When we have a Vice President stating legal abortion will end in his lifetime, this is not a “snails fart” issue. This is about economic equality, fair representation, and it’s literally life and death. Like the blog states, the Dem platform stands by women’s right to make medical decisions that is best for their own health and the health families. We need to stand for women as a party. Women are the base.

  21. bearcreekbat 2018-03-19

    I am not sure I understand how voting for someone with a different point of view on a woman’s right of privacy concedes anything since, as Jerry said, Roe v. Wade has resolved the issue as a Constitutional matter. Supporting one candidate who thinks Roe is wrong doesn’t concede anything, especially where the other candidate shares that view. Roe was not decided on the basis of popularity nor upon the basis of popular political opinion. It was based on interpreting the provisions of the Bill of Rights described earlier by Cory.

    So when you have two opposing candidates that share the same view on a settled Constitutional issue, you can vote for either or neither without conceding the validity of your opposing point of view on that issue.

    On the other hand, if you have a desire to accomplish accessible goals that help those in need, advance education, develop health care availability, etc, it would seem rejecting the only candidates that share your view on these issues actually does concede your position to the candidate who would rather work to enact legislation contrary to those issues.

    A woman’s right of privacy is a settled issue until the Supreme Court or a Constitutional Amendment reverses it. Politicians, however, use the issue as a means of driving voters to vote against the candidate that can actually make a difference on issues that matter.

    I consider Roe a pro-life decision in which the lives of woman are entitled to privacy and protection. There are many other pro-life issues that are not Constitutional issues and before voting for either candidate I will look at their record and position on matters such as using tax dollars to help women and children give healthy births, have healthy childhoods, protecting our water, feeding the hungry, enhancing education, etc. My pro-life candidate would support such issues regardless of his or her viewpoint on Roe.

  22. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-03-19

    No doubt Democrats need to be a full-service Party when it comes to issues. But to try to take certain issues out of the mix fools no one. In fact, “social Republicans” will take notice when choice is no longer a care for the Democratic Party and ask, why even consider the Dems?

    The fascinating thing about our comments, and its irony, is that to the degree a pro life Democrat has a better chance of winning statewide, if you subscribe to that theory that is, then it will be the pro choice Democrats, who cry foul, who will be responsible for educating pro life voters to this fact and giving that pro life Democrat his or her victory. While those who wish us as a Party to stay quite on the issue are actually unbeknownst doing a disservice to the game plan of the pro life within the Party, however. Because a smart South Dakota Democratic strategist once told me that you can upset a liberal and they will still vote for you as a Democrat, and to the degree that is true, then those of us who are pro choice within the Party and vocal on choice are doing our job, and I think eventually we will back in the saddle getting the job done as well as full service Democrats after this ploy is tried and fails…. Well, if we organize, that is…

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-19

    Jerry, I hate falling for bait. But I also hate not standing for what’s right.

  24. jerry 2018-03-19

    I agree with BCB in that Roe is pro life, always has been to me as well. Mr. Claussen, the idea of an election is to win. It is that simple. The idea you “can upset a liberal and they will still vote for you as a Democrat” may hold weight and I am certainly not going to argue that. We see that with republicans as well who have been quoted here as saying “they will hold their nose while they pull the lever for the republican”. This is what I mean when I say that in order to further the agenda of change, sometimes you have to take the bitter with the sweet. The numbers of base Democrats just do not agree with the challenge. We can all argue and agree that we are pro life, while we can still argue and agree that we are pro woman, so pro choice. In the end, it should be left up to the woman to make the choice.

    Cory, I know that you hate falling for the bait, but this is what happens if you present yourself with a tunnel vision of either my way or the highway. Nothing gets settled. We are seeing that in Washington right now with a one party rule which is the same nonsense we have seen here for the last 40 years. Russia was the cause of the situation in Washington and republicans in congress have sold the country out for being able to con their constituents into believing they are not in it for the gold. Democrats here with nothing to say because of purity do the same…and they loose. In the meantime, our state goes further down the drain because of one party rule. The one party gets to dictate the direction and then the Democrats have to follow along with the same tired argument…while loosing. Lamb handled the abortion farce as a lesson to be learned in the same way he handled guns, making them both non issues. The thing with Billie that is impressive is that he took their milkshake and drank his fill and then spit in it and handed it back. The beauty is there is not a damn thing they can do about it but talk about the issues… if they dare.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-19

    Somewhere off in the future it is my hope that South Dakota voters, both republican and Democrat, will quit being sheep to political ploys.
    Guns and abortions are issues that many voters aren’t concerned with. I will never have to make a decision about abortion nor will I ever own a gun.
    Every election cycle we are subjected to the endless debates on the 2nd Amendment and abortion with where there is never ever a clear winner.
    One issue voters have cost South Dakota Democrats some good people that knew how to govern and were willing to work for the people.
    Why Democrats continually allow republicans put them in these compromising positons is a mystery.

  26. leslie 2018-03-19

    Well said Roger but abortion and guns and gays are the “squirrel” to the mindless (at that point) salivating dog.

  27. jerry 2018-03-19

    Correct Roger C., correct. What happens is that you get a feller like Little Al Novstrup from Aberdeen blathering about abortion real loud like, meant only to distract from his failures as a sitting senator in Pierre. While he is doing nothing but blowing snot, jobs in Aberdeen are perilously close to leaving. His besty pals NOem and Jackley have done nothing to really make the 400 jobs at the wind turbine plant feel anymore safer than they did when NOem pulled the rug out from under them not so long ago. How again are republican economic plans supposed to work? Ah yes, Abortion and stuff, anything to change the subject. Instead of allowing Little Al to go all hyper on the women folk, why not ask him to show some support for the working men and women of his town and state. What are these screamers plans for economic development in our state. Little Al has some years in his job, what has he done besides being a pain in the arse for our women. Get him off his one trick pony to answer instead of blather. Maybe some wind projects in the state would help to keep the plant open…just sayin

  28. Debbo 2018-03-19

    It seems like whenever there is a compromise that needs to be made, or something to be “temporarily” set aside, or put on hold — it is us, women. For centuries, for millennia is has been women. It’s always us.

    Let’s win this election, THEN we can look at the women’s issue.
    Let’s rebuild the party, THEN we can look at the women’s issue.
    Let’s get the economy fixed, THEN we can look at the women’s issue.
    Let’s take back Congress, THEN we can look at the women’s issue.

    Forever folks, this has been the case. I listened to a TED Talk and the man was discussing Middle East issues. He said the rebellious men really just wanted control of their homes and families back, so we ought to just allow that for the sake of peace. Yeah, he admitted it would be a step back for women, but a small price to pay. I nearly drove off the road saying, What!? WHAT?!?

    Women are so little valued. It makes me so angry. Hickey’s ignorant rants are easy, its you “good guys” arguing for putting us on the f***ing back burner AGAIN. And AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN . . . . . . . .

    Damn right I’m shouting.

  29. Debbo 2018-03-19

    You’ve seen what happened when trump attacked women, how we’ve risen up, organizing, running for office, raising money and raising hell. What do you think would happen if SD Democrats went all in for women and children? Seriously, I’m asking?

    First rate insurance coverage, equal pay, economic opportunities, educational options, child care, medical choice of every kind, big investments in schools, domestic violence laws with real teeth, tough rape and sexual assault laws, free preschool, etc.

    What if the Democratic Party said these are our goals, our plans, what we want for our state? A big, audacious, bold, challenging plan to truly make SD great.

  30. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-19

    Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the union, if not the poorest, so what did republican party do to combat poverty? They passed the country’s strictest abortion law.
    Now that is a real solution to poverty.

  31. Tiffany Campbell 2018-03-19

    Thank you Debbo! I would love to meet you in person and hug you.

  32. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-19

    Tiffany Campbell, hopefully you will meet Debbo, she truly is a class act.

  33. grudznick 2018-03-19

    Mr. jerry, I think calling Mr. Novstrup “little Al” is rather demeaning and juvenile, although I will admit he seems a little short in stature. He makes up for that with his big brain and his stocky and muscular build. I expect we will see bill boards with him in a tank top or perhaps an arm wrestling challenge issued to all comers at the Brown County Fair.

  34. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-19

    There is another republican in the news lately that claims to have a ‘bigly’ brain.

  35. Debbo 2018-03-19

    Thanks Tiffany. And it’s mutual. I will be visiting in the Black Hills in July or August. Maybe we can work something out when it gets closer.

    Roger, as a class act yourself, I am humbled. Thank you.

    Jerry, its hard to tell what the SD Dem platform is. Is that due to lack of $ for publicity? Is it clear that the Dems are talking about really and truly going for it, or does it sound more like, “This is our pipe dream but we’ll toss out chunks here and there, like women and children, if it looks like it’s gonna cost us votes.”

    That’s what I’m hearing in this comment section. It’s platform, kinda sorta. I’m talking about passion, determination, will, spirit!

    SD, haven’t you seen the women, the students? Haven’t you listened? Haven’t you seen the special election results? There’s an uprising happening!

    SD Democrats are like the regularly beaten spouse who is no longer willing to risk hope because she knows that the good things that she sees others get will never be hers.

    C’mon SD!! Take a chance and be audacious! What have you got to lose? Seriously. Just exactly what do you have to lose?

  36. jerry 2018-03-19

    Sorry Mr. grudznick, I shortened it from Little Caesar Al, because when I write that, I think of the word salad of hate he spews at women which is no more demeaning or juvenile than that of which he spews. Little Al seems more like a school boy who has been turned down from a prom date. Maybe that is why he is so angry at women. He does nothing for the economy of the city, county and state but to stand on a stool to show his bitterness towards women. The worst part of it all is that he is not alone in our republican cabal called Pierre. He has plenty of screamers to join with. No solutions to economic issues, just hate speech towards the women.

  37. jerry 2018-03-19

    “What if the Democratic Party said these are our goals, our plans, what we want for our state? A big, audacious, bold, challenging plan to truly make SD great?” Ms. Debbo, you asked the question and I answered with what the Democratic platform says in black and white coming directly from the South Dakota Democratic Party’s website. I do not dispute any of the fine words written, I can only say that they are clear. Now, for the most part, this is what any Democrat running for office is for. So the next question is, what is the Republican platform? What does it say regarding anything that might be of interest to you? What exactly is their position on anything other than tax and spend Trojan horse operations that fleece the public while hoarding a billion that could be used for those challenging plans that could make SD great?

  38. comet 2018-03-20

    Debbo – Yes, I’ve seen the women and the students, I am cognizant of special election results and I remain cautiously optimistic about an “uprising”. I do not ascribe to your cowering “SD Democrats are like a regularly beaten spouse” parallel, but I can understand the sentiment.

    After those points however, I am unable to connect the dots. Are you suggesting that we, “be audacious” and cast our vote for either Jackley or Noem when we have Sutton on the ballot? Your declaration of “nothing to lose” is lost on me. Please clarify, from your perspective, the gain in electing either Noem or Jackley? Where’s the win? Is there a “yes” vote for women somewhere on that ticket?

  39. Linda M. Hasselstrom 2018-03-20

    I have always exercised my right to vote, but this election will test me. I will not vote against a woman’s right to make her own decisions about what happens to her body because I have seen too many young women, my students, whose lives were destroyed by having no choice. To continue with the Republican-inspired program of taking away a woman’s right to make her own decisions is to murder young women. I will not vote for anyone who is in favor of that.

  40. Dana P 2018-03-20

    Excellent comments, Tiffany and Debbo. Excellent. And yeah, you are right Debbo, that “women have to always take the back seat” and “we’ll get to that later” when it revolves around women’s issues. No question, you are absolutely correct.

    I’m really torn in this respect. I think that Mr Sutton would make an excellent governor for our state and I believe that is how things are going to start to change. Then, right after I make that comment, I also say, “Dammit Billie, you are really 100% wrong on abortion and women’s constitutionally protected rights”. And then it is very very tempting for me to say, “that’s it, I’m not voting for him”.

    People voted/stayed home in 2010 because they couldn’t stomach voting for Herseth-Sandlin due to her stance on health care. That is how we got Kristi Noem. People made similar decisions in 2016, that is how we got Donald Trump. People staying home or using one issue as a reason for their vote/non-vote has amounted to major consequences. Consequences that are going to last for decades.

    I just can’t sit back and watch Noem or Jackley waltz right into Pierre, and keep South Dakota as business as usual. I don’t want to assist that in any way. That has caused this state way too much carnage. And that doesn’t equate to me giving approval to Sutton’s stances on women’s issues. It doesn’t. Every vote matters. Every day, South Dakota is showing it may just well be competitive this year. Not turn blue, but competitive. I just can’t throw out the baby with the bath water. As in many elections, this one is critical. Every single vote matters.

  41. Ben Cerwinske 2018-03-20

    For those who won’t vote for Sutton or Bjorkman, who will you vote for? If you have a third party candidate in mind, then I can understand. While I agree not voting is a political act, I don’t think it’s a good one. Bjorkman in particular gives me a Lincolnesque vibe. Even if you think he’s wrong, he’ll listen to you intently (as judges do). If he still feels strongly about his position, he’s going to give you a clear and respectful rationale for it. These two candidates will do their best, as their conscience allows, to work WITH you.

  42. Debbo 2018-03-20

    I’m not saying don’t vote for Sutton. I’m saying raise hell with the Democratic Party and most of all, Run for Office Yourself!

    Nationwide the number of people, mostly women, who’ve never run before is very high, maybe the highest ever. There are passionate, smart South Dakotans who comment on this blog. How many of you are running for office? Translate your brains and heart to the voters.

    Run for something!

  43. Toni 2018-03-20

    Debbo! I want to meet you. We have to have candidates who stick the platform. The Dem Party in South Dakota has to stop being wishy washy. I am running in District 9, and I am sick and tired of women being thrown under the bus. Who calls, writes, emails, our National and State leaders, when hurtful and discriminatory bills are put forth? Women! In SD, the grassroots, progressive non-profits like SD Forward and LEAD, were started and run by who? Women! We are the base of the party. I am doing everything I can to move the State forward, but I can’t do it alone. And know I know I’m not.

  44. Debbo 2018-03-20

    Oh Toni. I have some news that may be disappointing.

    I was born in SD in 1953. (65 next mo) Lived and worked there except grad school in the mid 90s. Left in 06 due to serious illness and have lived in Minnesota since.

    I still love SD, and have many, many friends and loved ones there. I care very much about the state and want it to be more than it is. I want it to use its potential.

    From the perspective of a blue state, SD’s liberals and Democrats take on a clearer image. The older party leadership does have the mindset of an abused spouse. You’re absolutely right that women, and I’d add POC and people under 35 too, have become the backbone of the party. They’re fed up and not going to take any more.

    People my age need to get the hell out of the way, cheer madly from the sidelines, make calls, send emails, whatever you want us to do.

    Most of all, we need to believe in you and You need to believe in You. I do.

    Toni, if there is anything I can do from here, I seriously want you to let me know. I’m doing my best to defeat my pathetic excuse for a representative, Jason Loser Lewis. He’s hidden from his constituents, except the rich ones. I won’t go on about him, but this Nov. It’s going to be Angie Craig in the Minnesota 2nd!

  45. OldSarg 2018-03-20

    Who on earth would support the killing of the most innocent among us? Honestly, why would anyone want to kill the future of our home, the children that will grow into doctors, nurses, police and helpers of the poor and needy? It is a sad day when the people justify their killing of those who cannot protect themselves out of nothing more than pure selfishness but, that is where we are today. You have become corrupt in your instant gratification. This is why you are poor, alone and without love.

  46. Debbo 2018-03-20


    OS, you should write greeting cards for a Lonely Hearts Club.

  47. Debbo 2018-03-20

    BTW OS, I assume you feel the same when a cop guns down an unarmed black guy because the cop was startled.

    Or when the child is poorly clothed and hungry because he dad is a meth head, I assume you’re ready to step up and pay for what she needs or lobby your legislators to raise your taxes so “the future of our home, the children that will grow into doctors, nurses, police and helpers of the poor and needy” will be properly cared for.

    No. Well that’s “nothing more than pure selfishness but, that is where we are today. You have become corrupt in your instant gratification. This is why you are poor, alone and without love.”

    Don’t ever change, OS.

  48. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-20

    Good evening ladies.
    It is fantastic to see you all making connections and supporting each other in such a positive manner.
    For those of you don’t know Debbo, is well informed on not only women issues, but family and those suffering from addictions, those are just a few among her specialties.
    OldSarge is one of those South Dakota men that make the rest of us appear despicable, he shares the worst of South Dakota, not the best.
    Over the years I have developed the opinion that abortion is none of my business and reject the clap trap that OldSarge spouts. He’ll never be put in the position of having to choose an abortion, his opinion is meaningless, and quite frankly, he is not entitled to one.
    South Dakota and the country are not dominated by the OldSarge’s, there are plenty of good solid men with values that include supporting women and the rights they are too often denied.
    My best wishes to all of you.

  49. Debbo 2018-03-20

    Thanks Roger. I am privileged to know several of those wonderful men, including you. 😊

  50. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-20

    Thank you, Debbo, for that fitting response to absurdity.

    The core question here is, Vote for Billie or not?

    Fortunately, none of us has to answer that question for another seven and a half months. We have that time to, ask Debbo suggests, raise hell with Billie and with the party. The new backbone of the party—the women, POCs, and young people Debbo speaks of—have that time to make their voices heard, to make clear that they will support candidates who support the Democratic platform, including the reproductive choice that has been the law of the land for 45 years.

    And we have time to see how candidate Sutton responds before we vote.

    Now I can recognize there is probably some level of calculation going on in Camp Sutton. The Democratic nominee-apparent doesn’t know what the lay of the land will look like on June 6. He doesn’t know if the Jackley/Noem primary will create such hard feelings that he has a shot at playing to pro-life Republicans who hate their nominee or if his only hope is to play hard to the base (old and new). I don’t excuse abandonment of principle for such calculation, I only understand it.

  51. Tiffany Campbell 2018-03-21

    Cory has my contact information. Please reach out to him and send me an email, hopefully on your way to the Black Hills you can make a stop in SF and meet Toni and myself!
    We plan on raising hell with the our party. We also plan on showing the dem party that we are valuable. We are willing to spend every weekend this summer and fall knocking on doors for pro-choice candidates. A group of 20+ women can knock on a lot of doors in 2 days. We are willing to travel to any district in the state to help support pro-choice candidates.

  52. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Steve H and OldSarg get attacked for their comments suggesting abortion is wrong, and both probably use hyperbole for emphasis, but I think a lot of people who argue in favor of abortion rights ignore a reality about the issue – there really are people who use abortion as back-up birth control; there really are people who use abortion as revenge against boyfriends; there really are people who are sexually irresponsible because the risk of pregnancy is less scary when abortion is an easily available option.

    As I have said before, I don’t personally have a strong opinion about abortion because I am a firm believer of individual rights, and I just can’t support telling a woman she has to host another life within her – whether or not it was her choice to host that life in the first place. However, I think some people who call themselves pro-life have the idea that abortion is wrong not because they want to tell women what to do with her body, but because they feel like they are trying to save a human life. People who support unlimited access to abortions and a no-questions-asked policy say that a woman’s life and body should be under her sole control, even if exerting that control costs the life of another. People who don’t support such unlimited access at least disagree with that thought process on some level.

    Even though I support abortions being available, I don’t think it’s crazy for people to try to defend unborn babies. It’s terribly sad for me to think of a potential life – a happy, growing, learning, chubby-cheeked baby – can have it’s life terminated at will. I support a mother’s right to do it, but it’s still very sad for me to think about.

    I would guess at least some of the people who are opposed to abortion altogether recognize the issue of the rights of one living being versus the rights of another – I think they just tend to side with the baby versus the pregnant female. You might disagree with that, but it doesn’t feel “wrong” or “bad” or “ignorant” or “sexist” or “misogynistic” or any other label that is intended to be an insult to the person that really does believe they are trying to save babies who are being murdered. **Some people** like to make everything men-versus-women, but in the most recent study I can find, 41% of women called themselves pro-life while 44% of men called themselves pro-life (link at bottom). This means a person’s stance on this issue has almost nothing to do with their gender alone. People who have really strong opinions one way or another get so entrenched in their ideas and surround themselves with people who tell them that they are correct that they start to think they are in some vast majority of smartness and correctness. It’s an illusion. Not even 6 out of 10 women agree with what some of you are saying is a female-specific issue; and suggesting that men are somehow responsible for the hurdles abortion-seekers face is just more man-hating baloney. Or ignorance. Which label would you prefer? Ignorant or sexist?

    To some people, one abortion performed out of simple convenience to an irresponsible pregnant person is too many. People who support unlimited access to abortions have to at least recognize that this does and will happen. Not all abortions are life-saving miracles, or rape-victim-mothers, or dad’s-in-prison-and-mom-can’t-do-it-all-on-her-own situations.

  53. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    Ryan, you are right that women have varying reasons in deciding who or what can use their bodies, and that there are likely various motives driving people on both sides of the question whether a state should have the power to deny or interfere with a woman’s decision. Several of your assumed motives of women, however, sound quite misogynist even if that if not your intent. Nevertheless, a woman’s motive seems absolutely irrelevant.

    I think the point you miss is that prohibiting the state from interfering with a woman’s ability to obtain safe medical care in terminating a pregnancy has a lot to do with assuring women access to adequate and safe health care. Without such restrictions on the power of the state, women face more dangerous back ally methods of terminating unwanted pregnancies.

  54. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    alley – sorry

  55. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-22

    Ryan, I don’t mind folks trying to discourage aborting pregancies. I don’t mind Steve H. making the argument that a fetus is a separate, unique human life from the moment of conception that a woman has no right to terminate. I’ll even accept your contention that some people use abortion as birth control or for other purposes that you and I might find immoral.

    However, on that last point, to ascertain whether any given abortion is “immoral,” we have to ask questions that are, in every case other than women who have invited us into their private lives, none of our business and, in every case, are none of the state’s business. No matter how precious you deem the life in another woman’s womb, that woman’s autonomy supersedes the claim you’re making on behalf of another organism. The woman decides.

  56. jerry 2018-03-22

    Why isn’t poverty ever discussed as a reason for an abortion? Why don’t legislators, when they were in office like Steve H for instance, ever do anything for women after the child would be born? No healthcare guarantees, no nothing. That shows that they are just anti woman and do not want to help lift women up from the burden of child care. Something as simple as Medicaid Expansion was on the no no list for Steve H. Only punishment for the delivery.

  57. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    From AP Fact Checks-

    TRUMP: “Americans are more and more pro-life. You see that all the time. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans support abortion on demand at any time.” — remarks Friday to opponents of abortion rights.

    THE FACTS: Neither side of the abortion debate is scoring breakaway support in public opinion research. Gallup said in conjunction with its poll in June: “The dispersion of abortion views today, with the largest segment of Americans favoring the middle position, is broadly similar to what Gallup has found in four decades of measurement.” In short, half said abortion should be “legal only under certain circumstances,” identical to a year earlier, while 29 percent said it should be legal in all circumstances. The smallest proportion, 18 percent, said it should always be illegal.

    Americans’ positions on abortion are sufficiently nuanced that both sides of the debate can find polling that supports their point of view. Polling responses on abortion are also highly sensitive to how the questions are asked.

    But in the main, the public is not clamoring for abortion to be banned or to be allowed in all cases.

    Trump’s claim that only 12 percent support abortion “on demand” may come from a Marist poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, which opposes abortion rights. In that poll, 12 percent said abortion should be “available to a woman any time during her entire pregnancy.”

    Most polls have found that a distinct minority, though more than 12 percent, think the procedure should be legal in all cases. The percentage was 25 percent in an AP-NORC poll, 21 percent in a Quinnipiac poll, both done in December.


  58. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    Ryan, who are you to attempt to dictate to 100,000 or a million women you do not know, know nothing about and wouldn’t recognize if they bit yer butt, whether they can exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy?

    It boggles my atheist mind where all you little gawdalmighties come from.

  59. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Cory, you said “However, on that last point, to ascertain whether any given abortion is “immoral,” we have to ask questions that are, in every case other than women who have invited us into their private lives, none of our business and, in every case, are none of the state’s business. No matter how precious you deem the life in another woman’s womb, that woman’s autonomy supersedes the claim you’re making on behalf of another organism. The woman decides.”

    I happen to agree with you that it is none of anybody’s business why a person wants to have an abortion. I’m simply saying that almost half of our country does not agree with you. Half of our country thinks that the rights of unborn babies matter as much, or more, than a pregnant woman’s. You can say the a woman’s autonomy supersedes another’s opinion, but that is your opinion, not a fact. My comment was meant to show that even a very large number of women don’t think that a woman’s autonomy should be the final factor in this issue.

    For anybody that supports unlimited access to abortions based on the autonomy of a pregnant woman, do you have opinions as to these hypothetical situations:

    A twelve year old girl is pregnant. She wants to have the child. Doctors tell her the delivery will kill her. The mother and guardian of the pregnant child want her to have an abortion to save her life. Who should decide what happens?

    An adult female is pregnant. She likes to smoke cigarettes, take lots of over-the-counter pills to get high, and and drink beer while she is pregnant. She commits no crimes unrelated to the health of the fetus. Should there be laws preventing her from smoking, pill-popping, and drinking while pregnant?

  60. Ryan 2018-03-22

    mike – I almost posted a warning for you that my comment would exceed twenty words, but I hadn’t seen you on this thread so I thought you were busy elsewhere. Your headache must be back, because you clearly didn’t read my comment. Nowhere did I attempt to dictate whether anybody should or should not have an abortion.

    Feel free to copy and paste whatever part of my comment you misunderstood to mean that.

    And when you suggest I’m a “little gawdalmightie,” if you are meaning to suggest I believe in a god and/or that my belief or lack of belief in a god impacts my thoughts on abortion, you guessed wrong again. Points for consistency though.

  61. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    Ryan, yer a fencesitter. You know what that does?

    What any woman does is none of anybody’s beeswax- you, me or the guys behind the tree.

    They need us to stay out of their decisions and do not need anyone’s approval or disapproval. Men should not be allowed to comment on women’s rights.

  62. Ryan 2018-03-22

    mike – are you suggesting I make up a strong personal opinion about something just to avoid not having a strong opinion? That seems stupid. I tried to make my thoughts very clear: I said I support a pregnant person’s right to end the life of a fetus inside her. That’s not fence-sitting. I said I am sad when abortions are performed on otherwise viable fetuses. That is also true, and not fence-sitting. I don’t think that supporting a person’s right to abort has to equate to not feeling anything for the loss of life that happens when the right to abort is exercised. I support religious freedom, even though I feel bad for the portion of humanity that uses religion as a crutch to deal with real life, or the people who raise their children to have emotional or social disabilities due to their adherence to some cult’s belief system. I support individual rights, like I have said dozens of times on this blog. I recognize that supporting individual rights often results in people doing things I would not do myself – but I still prefer autonomy over uniformity and regulation.

    I think your assertion that men should not be allowed to comment on women’s rights is so obviously pandering that it’s embarrassing that you have the legal capacity to vote. Just for my own understanding of your positions, mike, do you have a thought on either hypothetical scenario I posed?

  63. Debbo 2018-03-22

    Ryan, I don’t disagree with your comment about the varying gradations of opinion.

    You said,
    “I think some people who call themselves pro-life have the idea that abortion is wrong not because they want to tell women what to do with her body, but because they feel like they are trying to save a human life.”

    I believe that too. But regardless of motivation, the end result is the same, control of a woman’s body by others, be they legislators or Congresspeople.

  64. Ryan 2018-03-22

    bcb – i enjoy reading your comments because they are almost always well-thought-out, relevant, and articulate. Characteristics that are more rare than some of us would like to admit. I agree that access to good medical care is a huge part of women’s reproductive health and overall wellbeing, but I don’t think that is applicable to the point of my comment – I was simply talking about the opposing views of “restrict” or “don’t restrict” abortions.

    And honestly, I’m bummed out that you threw the word “misogynist” out there so willy-nilly. Words matter. Labels matter. I stated facts – there are some people who terminate their pregnancies for the reasons I stated. I’m not hating on women – I love women. I’m not judging women in general. I’m not even judging the actual real people who get abortions for convenience reasons that I personally disagree with. I’m simply saying those things happen. I get the feeling that some DFP readers think the word misogyny means “disagreeing with any woman at any time for any reason, or implying that any women is less than infallible.”

  65. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Everyone keeps acting like a woman’s body is some special sacred thing. Your flesh and guts are no more special to the general public than a man’s body or a buffalo carcass. And by general public, I mean other women, too.

    We are a society that puts men and women (including their bodies) in cages, for decades on end, for non-violent crimes.

    We circumcise boys before they can hold their heads up.

    We baptize infants and toddlers with mumbo-jumbo juice.

    We pierce the ears of girls not even old enough to velcro their own shoes.

    We give heavy duty drugs to patients unaware of the effects.

    We tell people when they can or can’t undergo all sorts of medical procedures – some that are life-saving and some that are elective.

    It’s silly to act like people other than an individual pregnant woman should not have an opinion about an issue that directly or indirectly impacts our population as a whole.

    I’m still curious if anybody has thoughts about my hypothetical questions. My answers are:
    1) The mother; and 2) No.

  66. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    Ryan, are you suggesting you’re a woman buffalo carcass?

  67. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-22

    After all the words, all the opinions, all the court rulings, all the hate propaganda, all the outrage, all the religious indoctrination, abortion remains legal in the U.S. Pro-life activists have been trying to change that for 45 years with little or no success.
    And yes, a woman’s body is sacred, and not just because she may be pregnant, but because she is a woman.
    Years ago my father taught me to respect women and encouraged my mother and his daughters to challenge life at all turns and they accepted and succeed at those challenges.
    To compare a woman’s body to a buffalo carcass is brutal hatred.
    Women are different from men and until you can fully recognize those differences and respect their opinions, you have failed as a man.

  68. Debbo 2018-03-22

    I believe a man’s body is as sacred as a woman’s body. I would not support a law ordering a man to be castrated or sterilized because he impregnated a woman when he claimed to be sterile and she didnt want to bear a child.

    A woman’s body is sacred. So is a man’s and a child’s. Minors are not empowered, nor legally allowed to independently make decisions about their sacred bodies.

    When governments make laws controlling men’s reproduction, I will argue against that too, based in part on a law-abiding adult’s right to control her or his own sacred body.

  69. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    Ryan, your statement said that:

    there really are people who use abortion as back-up birth control; there really are people who use abortion as revenge against boyfriends; there really are people who are sexually irresponsible because the risk of pregnancy is less scary when abortion is an easily available option.

    I will call you on such statements because, frankly, I have seen no evidence that they are facts at all. Rather, such statements more like so-called “talking points” intended to belittle women as a method of gaining support for restricting a woman’s right to safe medical care – as in such immoral women do not deserve safe medical care to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. And in my experience I have never seen any evidence to suggest that such statements have any validity in the real world. I may be wrong, but such statements certainly sound like misogynist statements to me, rather than mere disagreements.

    I enjoy reading your comments too, as they often get me thinking about the complexity of issues. And I agree, words matter, hence my response.

    As for your hypo:

    (1) The parents. A 12 year old is not a “woman,” she is a child and a child has no right, and should not have any right, to place her life in danger over the objection of her parents.

    (2) No

  70. Ryan 2018-03-22

    mike – yes I’m a female buffalo carcass. Thanks for playing.

    Roger – I disagree that a woman’s body is more or less sacred than anything else. I pretty much disagree that anything is sacred, really. My father taught me to respect only people and ideas that are worth respecting, and not to judge a book by its cover (or not to judge a person by his or her genitals). I wasn’t comparing a woman’s body to a buffalo carcass, I was identifying different items that are not special. Here are three foods I don’t like: olives, sour cream, seafood. I am not comparing olives to fish; they are components of a list.

    Yes, I agree that women are different from men biologically. I don’t agree that I have “failed as a man” until I respect the opinions of every female. Roger, you often seem sensitive to race issues.
    I’m sure you are aware plenty of women are racist. And just to be clear, Roger, 41% of females support restrictions on abortion. Are those racist and anti-abortion women’s opinions more or less worthy of respect than the 55% or so that call themselves “pro-choice”? Or maybe we can admit that although only women can get pregnant, not all women share the same opinions.

  71. Ryan 2018-03-22

    bcb – I did not rattle off a list of “unsavory” reasons for abortions to belittle women or to gain support for restricting women’s rights. I am simply being a realist in that the freedom of autonomy is sometimes “abused.” Again, I still support that autonomy despite this risk. I understand that some people who don’t value fetuses as actual life wouldn’t even consider those reasons for abortions to be “abuse” or “unsavory” at all. I get it – everyone has a different threshold for what is “messed up” in their mind. I think the fact that some people take advantage of the availability of abortion is indeed “messed up.” You don’t think one single person has used abortion as birth control? You don’t think one crazy ex girlfriend has ever had an abortion out of spite? Really!? Of course it has happened. I have lived in one small town after another my whole life, and I personally know 2 examples of those “unsavory” abortion reasons. Think of the big cities. Think of the crazies. Think of the HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of women out there. You really think those things have never happened? I don’t think you really think that.

    And finally, a 12 year old is not a “woman” under state contract law or federal employment law or things like that, but doesn’t that seem like an arbitrary consideration for the life or death of a fetus? What if she is pregnant at 17 and will turn 18 during the pregnancy, but her legal guardian decides to abort the pregnancy before her birthday? Or if the question was flipped and the 12 year old wants the abortion but her crazy religious parents won’t allow it, despite the high likelihood of death to both daughter and fetus? Does the 12 year old have a right to fight for her own life? Or does she not yet understand life enough to make the decision?

    Lots of people act like abortion is an easy issue – either for or against. I’m apparently a fence-sitter, like mike said, because I think it is complicated. Don’t worry, he didn’t read this far to see that I agreed with him this time.

  72. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    Ryan, looks like you and I got off on the wrong foot. Too bad. It stays that way. There is something about you that sends my alarm bells screaming. Don’t know what it is, but it will manifest itself some time and probably sooner, rather than later.

    70 % of women born since 1980 favor Dems over the enemy of their kind.

  73. Ryan 2018-03-22

    mike – the feeling is mutual.

  74. Dana P 2018-03-22

    Places where there are more laws against abortion (AKA – government controlling womens’ bodies) actually increases abortion. Pretty obvious, I think. Education and increased/accessible contraception is a great way to reduce abortion – isn’t that the goal?

    Way beyond tired of listening to the Mr Hickey’s/Ryan’s false and unproven propaganda. Yes, they want to control a women’s constitutionally protected right to make their own decisions about their own bodies.

    Hot off the press yesterday —

  75. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    Ryan, when I said “even if that if not your intent” in my earlier comment I assumed that you did not believe or intend your statements to convey misogynist ideas. Now you know how such comments might sound to others.

    Your use of the term “people” in your comment suggested to me that you were referring to an identifiable group of individual women. Perhaps you know women that you believe made decisions to terminate pregnancies for such reasons. I am not sure how you were able to learn the thinking of the women you mention. For example, “I did it to punish my boyfriend,” sounds like a statement out of anger rather than a genuine basis for her final decision.

    I have never seen evidence of such motivations to terminate pregnancies. And by referencing “the crazies,” when describing the “people” in your statement about women’s reasons for seeking termination of a pregnancy, you might unintentionally be digging a deeper hole yet.

    Meanwhile, your first question reminded me of court cases brought on behalf of children when their parents wanted to make a dangerous life threatening decision, such as denying a needed blood transfusion. See e.g.,

    And the reference to a 12 year old as a “child” was directed to her state of intellectual, emotional and biological maturity, rather than contract law.

    And where the child’s life is in genuine danger, even a child of 17 or 18, should have no greater right to commit suicide by pregnancy than by another other unlawful reason. Such a child would likely be found to be a danger to herself and committed if the death from delivery was that likely.

    If the same girl was not pregnant but asked her doctor what kind of over-the-counter drug could help her avoid nausea because she intends to go home and ingest enough poison to perhaps kill herself, the doctor would report her to the police, she would be taken into custody and likely be committed for a time as a danger to herself.

  76. Robin Friday 2018-03-22

    Yes, Ryan, freedom and autonomy are sometimes abused. The motto of those who think they are in charge of everyone’s morals forever, and fully intend to stay that way. Freedom and autonomy are sometimes abused, but we didn’t let that stop us from demanding and defending and assuring our freedom in 1776, nor should we ever.

  77. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Dana P what are you talking about? Why are you lumping me in with Steve? If you don’t want to read my comments, I don’t care, but don’t misrepresent them. I don’t want to take anybody’s rights away. I support abortions being legal. You are either confused or deliberately and incorrectly suggesting I said something I didn’t. I’ll assume confused.

  78. Ryan 2018-03-22

    bcb – I’m aware some people don’t understand the definitions of words, so if somebody thinks my comments are misogynistic I guess I’m ok with that because I know better. It’s popular nowadays to assign incorrect meaning to somebody’s words and to be offended by that incorrect translation. I don’t mind if idiots offend themselves by misunderstanding something. Two close female friends have shared with me the reasoning for their abortions. Both were for a reason I mentioned. The crazies I referred to are real. I admit they’re very rare, but they exist. It isn’t a condemnation of their gender – there are plenty of crazy males too.

    And Robin, you must not know me. My own moral compass is admittedly in constant motion. I would never tell anybody else what to do with their body or life. I support absolute freedom from oppression and arbitrary laws. I support easy access to legal abortions. I’m only saying that attacking anti-abortion people ignores a reality that at least some of them have honest beliefs that an unborn fetus should be legally protected. I side with pregnant mothers, but trying to save fetuses doesnt seem crazy in itself, even if some anti-abortion people are crazy or just hate women.

  79. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    Ryan, I am curious about your statement

    some people don’t understand the definitions of words, so if somebody thinks my comments are misogynistic I guess I’m ok with that because I know better.

    Can you clarify – what definition or definitions were you referring to?

  80. Ryan 2018-03-22

    bcb – you indicated that my statements may come across to others as misogynistic even in that was not my intent. I’m saying if somebody thinks what I said is misogynistic, they don’t understand the definition of the word. They’re assigning a definition to the word that is not accurate.

    Like when somebody says they want equality by giving favor to a group that was previously oppressed. That is not equality. It might be fairness, or justified disparity, but not equality. The word equality, like misogyny, is tasty and trendy, so it’s used more than it should be. People can disagree with me, I support opposing viewpoints, but using a catchphrase like misogyny to claim offense or to belittle an opinion is a tactic of idiots. I dont mind if those idiots are offended by their lack of understanding of my words.

  81. mike from iowa 2018-03-22

    I support opposing viewpoints, but using a catchphrase like misogyny to claim offense or to belittle an opinion is a tactic of idiots.

    Here we go.

  82. leslie 2018-03-22

    Ryan u r funy: “It’s popular nowadays to assign incorrect meaning to somebody’s words”. The entire GOP right wing media propaganda machine does this all day long every day, and Rush has inspired u all for the last 30 years. gimme a break

  83. leslie 2018-03-22

    GOP “AND” … right wing…

  84. bearcreekbat 2018-03-22

    Ryan, thanks. I was thinking perhaps something like a variation of “misogynistic” might be what you were referring to. A quick check of the on line definition indicates “misogynistic” means “strongly prejudiced against women.”

    I may be wrong, but I understood that although you did not intend that your statements to express a “strong prejudice against women,” others could perceive that such language did reflect, support and encourage a “strong prejudice against women.”

    So I don’t think we really have a definitional problem, rather our issue seems to be whether this language might create negative feelings about women in some readers minds.

  85. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Leslie, you appear confused like Dana. Did you read my comments or just guess what I said? I’m neither gop, right wing, nor a fan of rush limbaugh. He’s a moron.

    Mike, what I meant, and I thought it was clear but I guess not, is that using those words frivolous is for idiots. If somebody hates women or acts misogynistic, that word fits. I’m saying that using it to be trendy is dumb

    bcb – you are overgeneralizing what I said. I said nothing about women in general or their gender as a whole. Saying some women do things that I find disturbing is not hating women. If I said I hate frat boys at the bar who start fights are wastes of oxygen, would that be misandry? Man hating? No, it’s calling out an action, and whether those actors are male or female, gender is irrelevant to the issue being called out.

  86. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-22

    Ryan is very good at over explaining his comments. If his word usage and sentence structure is confusing to bcb, it is confusing to many of us.

  87. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Roger, I admit that fault. I’m a fan of the proper use of language and leaving no room for misinterpretation due to vagueness in word choice. The irony is it probably causes more misunderstanding than it prevents. I’m incapable of turning it off. My friends and family also hate it. I envy the witt in brevity, but that isn’t me.

  88. Roger Cornelius 2018-03-22

    Less is more, Ryan, especially in writing.

  89. Ryan 2018-03-22

    In my experience, less is litigation. Expensive and unnecessary litigation.

  90. Robin Friday 2018-03-22

    Ryan said:

    “For anybody that supports unlimited access to abortions based on the autonomy of a pregnant woman, do you have opinions as to these hypothetical situations:

    A twelve year old girl is pregnant. She wants to have the child. Doctors tell her the delivery will kill her. The mother and guardian of the pregnant child want her to have an abortion to save her life. Who should decide what happens?”

    First off, who supports unlimited access to abortion? That’s not the law, that’s not Roe v. Wade, that’s not reality, that’s fantasy. Secondly, It isn’t an either-or decision. It isn’t death for the girl vs. termination of pregnancy. If I’m the mother of this girl I’m listening to what she wants, and I’m listening to the doctors and I’m asking the doctors why aren’t they talking about Caesarian?

    “An adult female is pregnant. She likes to smoke cigarettes, take lots of over-the-counter pills to get high, and and drink beer while she is pregnant. She commits no crimes unrelated to the health of the fetus. Should there be laws preventing her from smoking, pill-popping, and drinking while pregnant?”

    She’s making very bad choices not only for herself, but for her fetus, but as you say, people do make bad choices sometimes. I don’t believe it’s nearly as broadscale as you claim. And the word “bad” is a moral opinion, as is this entire question, so hardly subject to laws and no connection to abortion.

  91. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Robin, there are people who support abortion being legal in all circumstances. I know that isn’t the law, I didn’t say it was, but those people do exist. Some have maybe commented on this thread.

    As for the hypothetical questions, they are exactly that – hypothetical. They aren’t analogies to abortion, but meant to inspire thought or discussion of the underlying questions of autonomy and the rights of a pregnant woman to do what she wants with her body.

  92. Robin Friday 2018-03-22

    But the subject of this thread is abortion, Ryan. And yes, unusual things do happen and so do unusual opinions, and unusual behaviors, but as I said, I don’t believe it’s nearly as broadscale as you claim. Going back farther, I also don’t believe your claim that many women use abortion as a back-up birth control. You seem to be talking in all of your hypotheticals about the unusual or unique decisions to be made. You also seem to have no documentation for your claim that some women use abortion as a “back-up” birth control but I believe that’s the rare case. Think about the ease of prescription or over-the-counter birth control, or even the morning-after pill as compared to the experience of being a patient at an abortion clinic, or a thousand times worse, a back-alley abortion. Who would choose that except a woman entirely desperate? That’s why we should make contraception easy and free to women who need to control their reproduction for whatever reason.

    And nothing about the Caesarian? Never mind, that’s the cool thing about hypotheticals. You can add variables as time goes on if you’re questioned.

  93. Robin Friday 2018-03-22

    Cory, if you can delete that messed up post, please do so. My computer is playing games without me.

  94. Ryan 2018-03-22

    Robin, I didn’t say those things are common, I didn’t say many women do anything. I said some. I said it happens. It does. I’m sure those sorts of things are rare, but considering the millions of abortions in the US in the last decade, it would be naive to think it doesn’t happen.

    As for not responding to your c-section solution to my question, I didn’t answer because you don’t seem to understand the point of the question so I was going to just let it go. I wasn’t asking who can think of ways to solve a medical emergency. I was asking to see the boundaries of people’s opinions about autonomy and pregnancy. Is the child subject to regulation of her body because she’s a minor, despite being pregnant? Does a pregnant child have more rights to control her body than a child wishing to undergo some other non-pregnancy procedure, or does a legal guardian always have the final say? What about an adult who is mentally disabled and has a legal guardian, can that guardian chose to have an abortion performed? What about a woman committed to an institution for being violently and criminally insane and not knowing reality from fantasy? I asked the question to see where individual rights end.

  95. Dana P 2018-03-23

    Ryan, my apologies if I misunderstood your comments. If you are a proponent for a woman’s decision to control decisions about her own body? And that it is no one’s business but hers, and ESPECIALLY not the government? And that you support her still constitutionally protected right to make that decision? Then great, we are on the same sheet of music. If I interpreted different in your comments — I apologize.

  96. Ryan 2018-03-23

    Dana, yes I agree with all three of those comments. The part about “nobody’s business” is honestly a bit tricky in my head because I believe that terminating an otherwise viable life is killing a baby, but I support the pregnant mother’s right to do it. I think it may be the baby’s business too, because it is their life being ended, but because I believe the mother’s rights are superior, I can agree that it’s nobody’s business because technically the baby isn’t “somebody.” I definitely don’t think it’s the government’s business. Or some guy’s business.

  97. grudgenutz 2018-03-23

    If god is concerned about the “soul” of a group of cells a woman doesn’t want to carry around for nine months and babysit for 18 more years, then god has the option of transferring that “soul” to another group of cells. But then, since, eternity in god’s presence is the object, then what’s the big deal?

  98. jerry 2018-03-23

    Mr. grudgenutz, for what it is worth, God is kind of busy these days dealing with the US backed slaughter in Yemen for one..just sayin.

  99. Robin Friday 2018-03-23

    Ryan, you presented two solutions to your hypothetical question. I presented a third which, depending on other unstated variables, would negate the need for either your first or your second proposed “solution” and would satisfy both the girl and her need to continue her life, and her parents who seem, at the core of it, to want to save their daughter at any price. As for autonomy, yes, the girl’s wishes should be considered. At twelve, she is not a woman, but it’s also very possible her parents could make wrong decisions. I’ve not seen it happen to anyone who’s twelve, but I’ve seen it happen to girls who are fourteen, fifteen and sixteen and they settled it as a family. Misunderstood your question? I don’t think so. Yes, of course it’s about autonomy. So I’ll say exactly what I said before. Yes, her wishes should be considered and in the end should prevail. But hopefully with help from the professionals, they can come to a solution, if not ideal, as least gratifying to all as life and death decisions go.

  100. Robin Friday 2018-03-23

    Back to the origins. In my opinion, Sutton knows as well as anyone that the question is “can any pro-choice Democrat be elected governor at this point in SD?” He knows the answer is “no” but that’s SD voters’ and legislature’s fault, not his. I don’t know him personally, so I don’t know what his internal compass says, but I know what a governor candidate has to say. He (in this case) has to avoid the subject of abortion as much as possible, but if it can’t be avoided, he has to say he’s opposed to abortion. It’s time to elect a governor and legislature who will diminish our state’s tendency to allow us all to be led around by the nose by CWA and RTL and Right Wing Christian Conservatism.

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