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Novstrup Interferes with Women’s Health Care But Claims State Can’t Act Against Coronavirus

The SDGOP belches forth more hilarious hypocrisy as Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) tells us South Dakota state government can’t do anything to fight the public health emergency brought on by coronavirus:

“The state has no role to play, not because we don’t want to, but because it’s not within our authority,” he said [J.T. Fey, “Opinions over Noem’s Pandemic Leadership Follow Party Lines {paywall},” Aberdeen American News, 2020.11.23].

Senator Novstrup is, as usual, (a) wrong and (b) a blathering hypocrite.

(a) The Governor has all sorts of emergency powers she can exercise to address the public health emergency she declared on March 14, before anyone in South Dakota had died of coronavirus. Even without the nine emergency measures the Legislature passed on March 30, the Governor’s emergency response powers (SDCL 34-48A-5) include taking over local emergency response resources, seizing private property (other than guns and cash), suspending state agency rules and law enforcement, and shutting down travel (yes, Governor Noem really could issue an order closing the highways and forbidding travel during Thanksgiving) to control the spread of coronavirus. The same statute gives the Governor authority to “control the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises within the area”; that language tells me the Governor could say, “Coronavirus is killing people. It is spreading at social gatherings indoors. You cannot occupy any premises for any gathering of more than ten people, and to move about in public indoor premises, you must wear a mask.”

(b) Senator Novstrup himself believes the Governor and the Legislature have the authority to intervene in health care in situations where, even in their most radical interpretation, far fewer lives are at risk in South Dakota. Senator Novstrup has pushed legislation outlawing statements of scientific fact and forcing medical professionals to recite a Legislatively dictated script to their patients. Senator Novstrup has celebrated and expanded state authority to force women seeking to terminate their pregnancies to submit to “counseling” from medically unlicensed conservative propagandists. Senator Novstrup has used his state power to force women to wait 72 hours and longer over weekends because he doesn’t trust women to make good decisions about their reproductive rights. Senator Novstrup will stick his horsehockey right between you and your doctor for his chosen health concerns, but when real people are suffering and dying around us because of his and his party leader’s failure to read, think, and lead, he claims government can’t do anything about health issues.

Senator Al Novstrup is the last person you should consult for accurate information about law or public health. If you ask Al about important public issues, you’ll just get partisan hypocrisy. You might laugh, if Al’s misinformation and hypocrisy weren’t so embarrassing and harmful.


  1. Jenny 2020-11-24 18:13

    What a useless legislator.

  2. grudznick 2020-11-24 18:33

    Mr. Novstrup, the elder, can be a bit of a mumbler, and if he were wearing a mask I am positive you could not understand him. On occasion, he can be a sharp-witted fellow with pretty swell ideas. You know his voters love him and keep sending him back.

  3. o 2020-11-25 11:11

    grudnick, the voters keep sending HIM back or keep sending back the “R” that happens to have his name after it?

  4. Edwin Arndt 2020-11-25 13:21

    Leadership isn’t worth much when so
    many refuse to be led.

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