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Weis for Abortion Rights? HB 1179 Seeks Inalienable Right to Bodily Integrity

I’ve suggested that women’s rights activists should try repealing South Dakota’s abortion restrictions by initiative. I further suggest that a bold Democratic gubernatorial candidate could win more votes that she loses and do more good for South Dakota by promising to repeal those misogynist laws.

But now the dopiest legislator in Pierre, Representative Kaleb Weis (R-2/Aberdeen), is about to take that issue off the table with his own proposal to protect every woman’s reproductive rights. Weis proposes House Bill 1179, which seeks to write into law “an inalienable right to bodily privacy”:

Every person has the inalienable right to bodily integrity, free from any threat or compulsion that the person accept any medical intervention.

A person may not be given preferential treatment for accepting a medical intervention nor may a person be discriminated against for refusing to accept a medical intervention [House Bill 1179, filed 2022.01.26].

Weis and his handful of radical right-wing co-sponsors are really just trying to ban coronavirus vaccine requirements. But Weis, whose bill-writing record is filled with misfires, takes an elephant gun to his perceived mosquito pricks and blows a hole not just in public health (this “inalienable right” would ban all the requirements our schools and hospitals have for vaccination against measles, mumps, hepatitis…) but in his own politics. Weis and his party sanctify cops, but his prohibition on medical interventions would ban mandatory blood tests. The Weis family hates immigrants, but Weis’s HB 1179 philosophy would indicate he would let those scary brown people enter the country without proving they’ve been vaccinated against covid, tuberculosis, and polio.

But the headline conservative problem with HB 1179 is that Weis’s absolute right to bodily integrity means the government cannot force a woman to remain pregnant. Pregnancy imposes a nine-month threat of medical intervention on women. Women are much more likely to die from gestating a fetus (20.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019) than from taking the coronavirus vaccine (even Weis’s wackiest anti-science sources can only point to 2 reported deaths subsequent to every 100,000 covid shots, with no proven causal link), so if Weis is really trying to save lives and bodily integrity, he needs to let women escape the danger of pregnancy.

HB 1179 would only write Weis’s ill-formed notion of bodily integrity into law, not the state constitution, so even if it passes, it doesn’t create an absolute constitutional right that would automatically negate our abortion bans and other draconian statutory intrusions. But it even in mere statutory form, HB 1179 creates a snarl for any judge trying to make sense of what the state is saying: all people have an inalienable right to bodily integrity, but the state can alienate women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Every elected official should defend women’s absolute right to control their bodies and the pregnancies that may happen therein. It’s just weird to hear Kaleb Weis offering a bill that could provide such a defense.

But not to worry: even if Weis can bumble his way through committee and get a sympathy vote from his caucus to pass this bill, the Kavanaugh/Coney Barrett Court will save him from his self-contradiction when it overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. As an eager reader explained this week, the right to privacy is fundamental to protecting citizens from government intrusions on their bodies. Absent Roe v. Wade and privacy, any claim of bodily integrity, personal or statutory, will collapse in court against compelling interests the state may cite in protecting the health and safety of the public… like the compelling need to vaccinate everyone to end the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread human and economic toll it continues to wreak.


  1. Richard Schriever 2022-01-29 06:58

    Modern day “conservatives” (quote intentional) are so full of self-contradictions it seems to them to be the natural course of life, and thus they are unable and unwilling to examine those self-contradictions as they are incurious about their own “normalcies”.

  2. Edwin Arndt 2022-01-29 12:50

    Please, please remember that there are two bodies involved
    in abortion, not just one. I can and will never believe that a
    woman has the absolute right to kill her child.

  3. Porter Lansing 2022-01-29 12:59

    @Edwin – Please, please remember that a fetus isn’t a child until it’s born, and God blesses it with a soul.

  4. mike from iowa 2022-01-29 13:09

    and the body of the second part cannot live outside the body of the first part until 24th week, age of viability and until that time the body of the first part gets to decide whether or not to allow parasite to keep growing in her body.

    With the morning after pill, Edwin wouldn’t be worried about a small cell or two being expelled.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-01-29 13:45

    8. An acorn is not an oak tree so a foetus is no more an unborn child than it is an unborn grandparent.

  6. Edwin Arndt 2022-01-29 14:49

    Mike, how nice of you to refer to a child as a parasite.
    Larry, as far as I am concerned, an acorn is an oak tree
    as soon as it sprouts. When I put a kernel of corn in
    the ground it becomes a living plant as soon as it sprouts.
    Abortion kills a child. I am incapable of seeing it
    any other way. There are many others who also see
    it that way. I see no reason to continue this argument.

  7. Porter Lansing 2022-01-29 14:58

    You continually start this argument and then “go to ground” like a scared hare, Edwin.
    Is there some guilt in your past that drives you to time and time again begin your defense of anti-women’s rights thinking?
    If not guilt, is there some sin you’ve committed that standing up for something that’s obviously a canonical attempt to enrich a religion or church might salve?
    Since, this discussion only happens on Saturday, when you appear, there’s no benefit in continuing this discussion aka your “weekly penance”.

  8. mike from iowa 2022-01-29 15:09

    Just a fact, Edwin. A scientific fact no less.

  9. Porter Lansing 2022-01-29 18:29

    “When I put a kernel of corn in the ground it becomes a living plant as soon as it sprouts.”

    “When I plant a garden it’s vital to thin the sprouting plants in order to allow the remaining plants to thrive.”

  10. Francis Schaffer 2022-01-29 20:21

    Does a legal definition of soul even exist?

  11. Bob Newland 2022-01-29 20:24

    I think the host has the right of discretion in defining what is and what is not a parasite.

  12. DaveFN 2022-01-29 20:29

    Edwin Arndt

    Are you aware that some 99% of all species that ever lived on the planet are now extinct? Death is a part of life and always has been. Even adults are terminal. It’s only those species that propagate by asexual reproduction that have the possibility of eternal life. Sexual beings don’t.

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-01-30 05:17

    Only if it was yours Edwin. By the way you do know your God knocks off more emplanted fetuses than humans do?

  14. mike from iowa 2022-01-30 08:41

    BTW, Edwin researchers have developed crops, like corn, that can be grown in denser populations and much closer together than ever. Soybeans do well dense packed together in crop fields to maximize yields.

  15. Janet Olson 2022-01-30 09:10

    If we ban abortions in the US won’t that increase tyhe number of children born into poverty? I don’t see much concern what happens in those children’s lives by the conservatives who do not want to support “socialism” programs that would help families. Who cares once they are born and breathing air? The US ranks #3 among the poorest in the ranking below.

    Source: World Economic Forum

    Proportion of children living in poverty in the OECD countries in 2018

    column chart
    Characteristic Proportion of children in poverty
    Israel 22.2%
    Chile* 21.5%
    United States* 21.2%
    Mexico** 19.8%
    Spain 19.3%
    Italy* 18.7%
    Hungary 16.9%
    Lithuania 16.5%
    Luxembourg 16%
    Greece 13.9%
    Australia 13.3%
    Slovak Republic 12.4%
    United Kingdom 12.4%

  16. Richard Schriever 2022-01-31 10:31

    Edwin, that acorn was fertilized (conceived in the modern “pro-life” vernacular) several months prior to it becoming “born” (separated from its mother. So, if in your opinion it is not a tree until it sprouts – that would be long after its “conception” and “birth”. Applying your logic about trees here, a child is not a child until a few months after it is born. Thank you very much for clearly exposing the nonsense of your notions about when individual life begins as being at conception as well as that you have no idea how biology in general, let alone human biology, actually works.

  17. Porter Lansing 2022-01-31 18:03

    The three primordial freedoms, those which for most of human history were simply assumed.
    1. freedom to disobey
    2. freedom of movement
    3. freedom to create or transform social relationships

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