While the big kids dominated the airwaves Thursday evening, the candidates running in the District 24 House Republican primary debated in Pierre. In the course of that debate, in response to a question about opioid addiction, Rep. Mary Duvall made the following remarkable comment in support of keeping the Legislature from intervening in the doctor-patient relationship (about 33:45 in this video):
There was a proposal this past Session… to limit the amount of time doctors could prescribe opioids for. And it’s intriguing concept, but I don’t think the Legislature is in a particularly good position to tell doctors how to prescribe medicine. That being said, I honestly think the medical community needs to do a better job of communicating with doctors to limit the prescriptions of opioids, to let people know that, you know what, you might hurt a little bit after surgery or whatever, we’ll get you through the first few days, and then we’ll figure out other ways to help you deal with your pain. I also read that there are formulas for painkillers that are less addictive. So I think there are options out there, but I don’t think that the Legislature holds the key for making medical decisions for South Dakotans [Rep. Mary Duvall, Pierre Chamber candidates forum, 2018.05.24].
Having Roxanne Weber in the race must be salutarily driving Rep. Duvall toward the center and away from her past hard-right positions on abortion legislation. Since entering the Legislature in 2013, Rep. Duvall has voted for at least nine bills (2013 HB 1237, 2014 HB 1180, 2014 HB 1162, 2015 HB 1130, 2015 HB 1155, 2016 HB 1157, 2016 SB 72, 2017 HB 1101, and 2017 SB 102) imposing Legislative interference in doctors’ and/or women’s ability to make medical decisions about pregnancy. Rep. Duvall appears to be coming around to clearer, better thinking on who should practice medicine: the Legislature is in no position to tell doctors how to practice medicine and should not try to make medical decisions for South Dakotans.