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How Hard Will SD Democrats Fight for Women When SCOTUS Overturns Roe?

Last night, Politico published a leaked February draft of a majority opinion from the Supreme Court indicating that the conservative majority apparently plans to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion.

Politico’s publication time is 8:32 p.m. Eastern, just ten hours prior to my coming to the keyboard this morning to express my grief and anger at the Supreme Court’s abandonment of stare decisis to move in the wrong direction, to restrict rather than to expand liberty. I haven’t had time to study the draft opinion (which doesn’t count until the Supreme Court issues its official ruling) or digest the commentary that has exploded overnight.

Neither, apparently, have South Dakota’s two statewide Democratic candidates. Gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith was on Twitter before yesterday’s unprecedented SCOTUS leak to appreciate teachers and retweet his ticketmate, Senate candidate Brian Bengs. After tweeting on whacking Big Meat with antitrust legislation, Bengs yesterday continued noting the endorsements Democratic legislators are sending him, with the latest coming from Rep. Jennifer Keintz (D-1/Eden), and then took another shot at “lifetime politician” John Thune as “Mitch McConnell’s handpicked successor.”

Responses to such a seismic shift in women’s guaranteed rights, a change from allowing women autonomy in their reproductive choices to rendering them second-class citizens in any state that chooses to reduce pregnant women to servants of the state, may require more thoughtful reading, contemplation, and message-craft. But we could all see this coming from the day Thune, McConnell, and Trump replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amy Coney Barrett. Democrats ready to fight for women’s rights should thus have their restore-Roe responses cued up and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, not just to immediately establish the proper moral and political stance in favor of women’s rights against white patriarchal theocracy, but also to surf the immediate wave of patriotic outrage to gain attention and donations for their campaigns. (My fellow Democrats, learn a lesson from the Republicans: scared and angry people will hit the Donate button.)

Governor Kristi Noem didn’t need time to read and contemplate (as if she’s ever taken time to engage in such mental taxation). An hour after Politico’s story, she tweeted that she will call for a Special Session “to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.” She doesn’t need to call a Special Session to outlaw abortion; South Dakota’s trigger law will automatically ban almost all abortions the moment SCOTUS turns this draft to final copy.

Democratic leaders outside South Dakota are already framing the Court’s impending action as “the central choice in the 2022 election.” Smith and Bengs should center that choice here in the heart of coming Gilead by making these tweets their next:

  • Smith: South Dakota cannot abandon women’s equality. As your next Governor, I promise to veto any new restrictions on abortion and work to dismantle all laws that oppress women.
  • Bengs: Women should control their bodies. John Thune should not. Send me to the Senate, and I will support judges who support women.

The South Dakota Democratic Party did tweet last night that “Women deserve the right to make medical decisions for their own bodies. Time and time again, South Dakotans have shown at the ballot box they support a woman’s right to choose.” Smith, Bengs, you need to amplify that message today, all week, and right through November 8.

Republicans made hay from 50 years of abortion politics. Now that they are getting what they want, Democrats need to capitalize on the issue of women’s autonomy and come out swinging to defend women from this foul regression to second-class citizenship. Jamie Smith, Brian Bengs, show your leadership on this crucial issue. Show women and other defenders of equality and autonomy that they have candidates worth fighting for in South Dakota.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 07:26

    10. There is no foetal heartbeat until late in a pregnancy. What an ultrasound “hears” at six weeks are cells beginning to built a cardiac system.

    New Mexico is the political inverse of my home state. It’s where if the lopsided Supreme Court of the United States overturns Roe v. Wade women will still be free to exercise their reproductive rights because Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Respect New Mexico Women and Families Act that repealed the 1969 state statute banning abortion. In New Mexico Medicaid covers abortions and even transportation in rural areas to get to clinics in Albuquerque.

  2. 96Tears 2022-05-03 07:31

    Nothing kills a movement faster than success.

    Overturning Roe v. Wade has been the all-consuming quest of the now officially fascist, white supremacist, anti-women Republican Party. For 50 years, it’s been 100 percent the focus of the Right to Life Movement, the Religious Roundtable and the hundreds of associate and front groups that call themselves conservative Christians. Now their movement is done after all their bombings and shooting up of abortion clinics, their violence, their fake holy rage … what is left? They packed the Supreme Court under insurrectionist Trump and Mitch McConnell’s stunning, smart and completely ruthless moves. Now what?

    The stole a fundamental human right from 52 percent of Americans, the right to dictate their own birth control.

    Now what?

    I think they pushed the “go” button on an even more united, focused, angry and thoroughly organic group. All women, even those who suffer the narrow-minded, Talibanic delusion that a religious point of view of when intelligent life begins trumps scientific facts.

    The clown cars in Congress and on the Supreme Court did the bidding of a loud, persistent and dead wrong minority — even here in beet red South Dakota. This changes the political equation in America on many levels practically overnight. The mid-term elections will be the beginning of a resurgence to take back America from the Christian Taliban.

    Nothing kills a movement faster than success. The clowns have unwittingly spawned a much bigger movement. All women were robbed. They’re not going to sit down and be quiet about it.

  3. Buckobear 2022-05-03 08:02

    I recall during the Vietnam War the images of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in front of the US embassy in Saigon. Will we soon see pregnant women doing the same on the steps of the Supreme Court, the Capitol or in Pierre??

  4. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 08:07

    Colorado has protected reproductive rights, too.

    3. Rich women have full reproductive rights while women at the lower income margins suffer chilling effects on those rights. Women in Texas, Wyoming and South Dakota who can afford it simply jump on a plane and fly to Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Fort Collins or elsewhere for their procedures. Imagine a woman on the Standing Rock or Pine Ridge doing that.

  5. Dicta 2022-05-03 08:22

    And thus, the Balkanization of the United States continues unabated as the minority party continues its national dominance.

  6. Phil 2022-05-03 08:44

    What a perfect opportunity to establish Carlisle type school/orphanages to take in the many unwanted just born and indoctrinate them accordingly for future use.

  7. Ryan 2022-05-03 09:23

    96tears nailed it. well said.

    republicans stand for essentially nothing, except taking away of things they don’t think others should have. what will now happen is blue states will continue on as if nothing happened, except for a bit more money from out of state aborters… and red states will see their population get poorer, dumber, and have a lower quality of life. they will pretend they love the resulting poor, dumb, and unhappy population, because republicans love to martyr themselves for baloney causes.

    i’ve seen and done a lot in my life and it takes a lot to get me emotional… but having two kids made me incredibly empathetic toward kids in desperate and unfortunate situations. make no mistake about it – the population of desperate and unfortunate children in this country is sadly about to increase exponentially. it’s a shame the “all unborn babies deserve to live” people don’t care about living children.

  8. Rebecca 2022-05-03 09:59

    South Dakotans do not support banning abortion. That question has been put to voters of this state, and we’ve turned down bans twice by 10+ percentage points.

    I want to know where the Democrats are who will state that fact loudly, repeatedly, and as part of the broader message that the policies of this administration do not represent the will of the people. The will of the people on this issue and many others has been repeatedly demonstrated and repeatedly ignored.

    Name it and shame it.

  9. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 10:06

    The extreme white wing of the Republican Party is worried the great unbelieving unwashed will replace it. It’s just that simple.

  10. Mark Anderson 2022-05-03 10:07

    This now needs to be the central issue for the midterms and beyond. The vast majority of Americans want to keep Roe as it is. Make the Republicans pay for this. Go after them. The last three SCOTUS picks before the last, have lied about Stare Decisis, and they were asked about it. They will continue to go after individual rights. Now it’s a campaign issue, use it full bore.

  11. Joe 2022-05-03 10:25

    Roe is just the first. Obergefell will be next. Then what – interracial marriage? Contraception?

    Gilead, indeed.

  12. Phil 2022-05-03 10:37

    Is it possible this is “a bridge too far” moment?

  13. O 2022-05-03 11:04

    Rebecca, repeatedly ignored at what peril? I agree with what you say, but how has thwarting the will of the people in any way stoped the political ambitions of those who have taken that path? In fact, I would argue that promising to thwart has lead to their success.

    There are undemocratic underpinnings of our nation – the Senate, gerrymandering, the filibuster . . . but on an even larger scale, American majorities (voting majorities – not ethnic) have chosen to not use their numbers to remedy the ills visited on them by a well organized and determined minority.

  14. John 2022-05-03 11:08

    Planned Parenthood may well set up clinics on the Rez, outside the reach of South Dakota.

    Red states just killed their economic development. No CEO, no board will place a business or branch in a red state when 70% approve abortion. Add book bans, burns. and economic development will die.

    And then there’s this from Jeff:
    “the Taliban forces its extreme religious beliefs on a captive majority. the Republican party forces its extreme religious beliefs on a captive majority. any questions”

  15. P. Aitch 2022-05-03 11:27

    If the court overturns Roe, many conservative states would likely outlaw nearly all abortions. One estimate suggests that the number of abortions in the U.S. would decline by about 14 percent.
    – The liberal justices argued that such a radical change coming so soon after a change in the court’s membership would undermine its claims of nonpartisanship.
    – “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked. “If people actually believe that it’s all political, how will we survive?”- NYTimes

  16. Rebecca 2022-05-03 11:29


    There hasn’t been any serious peril for this administration or its lackeys in the legislature in part because there is so little will to take the gloves off. And -yes- thwarting the will of the people has provided some excellent ROI in terms of big money special interest funders who see our state as a testing ground for their radical agendas.

  17. DaveFN 2022-05-03 11:57

    Cory has thrown down the gauntlet to Smith and Bengs. Will be waiting to hear if they take it up—or not.

  18. mike from iowa 2022-05-03 12:28

    Poor women and women of color are 14 times more likely to die during childbirth than when having an abortion. All the bullspit from magats about caring for women’s health and well being is just another load of caca del toro and always has been.

    If this is allowed to happen, can gay marriage bans be far behind?

  19. ABC 2022-05-03 13:08

    Only Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico will uphold freedom for women, if this goes through.

    A stunning fascist coup d’etat.

    Susan Collins of Maine believed the lies of Brett Cavanaugj on Stare decisis.

    Minority rule continues.

    We the people will have to stand up and vote! No more fascism, no more lies!

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-03 14:05

    John, maybe Planned Parenthood could provide the Next Big Thing for economic development, at least on the reservations. Set up women’s health clinics at Pine Ridge, Wagner, Flandreau, and maybe Sisseton and across the river from Mobridge. Provide comprehensive women’s health care, including abortion services, on sovereign Native territory, where Noem’s Jesus-troopers can’t touch them and can’t enforce Jon Hansen’s waiting periods. South Dakota women will flock to the reservations for care, stimulating those local economies. Health care professionals will move to those reservations and further strengthen the communities with their presence.

    Maybe the reservations could set themselves up as Free Zones for women, guaranteeing their civil rights and allowing them to stay safely in South Dakota where they can still vote out our theocratic Senators.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-03 14:08

    The South Dakota Democratic Party joins the Democratic Parties of the other 49 states, DC, Virgin Islands, and Dems Abroad in condemning the prospect of overturning women’s equality:

    Last night, a draft opinion circulated indicating the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade. Given the additional powers this anticipated decision will yield to state and territorial legislatures, the listed State Parties, representing almost all of the states and territories of the nation, signed on to jointly offer the following statement:

    “The shockwaves of Donald Trump’s presidency are neither gone nor forgotten. We are heartbroken – but not surprised – to see the draft opinion of the United States Supreme Court indicating it intends to overturn a half-century constitutional jurisprudence in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

    “Many of us live in states where abortion access has been overturned or torn apart by extremist Republicans who have no business interfering in personal health decisions. Abortion bans are not favored by a majority of Americans, and they never will be. They are, however, supported by an extremist group of right wing primary voters and donors – and that’s why the GOP continues to fight to restrict abortion access nationally and in our legislatures.

    “In the wake of this decision, the Supreme Court’s anticipated opinion will signal a return of power to the elected representatives of each state and territory. Therefore, it is important now, more than ever, that we protect and exercise those rights that remain intact — our First Amendment rights to associate and to vote representatives into office who will stand firm and protect their constituents from the threats and whims of conservatives.

    “Across America, our State Democratic Parties will work tirelessly to recruit, train, and support Democratic candidates for state and federal office who will fight for the right to abortion. We encourage our federal legislators to codify Roe immediately. We cannot and will not wait” [SDDP, press release, 2022.05.03].

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-03 14:12

    Brian Bengs, three hours ago, on Twitter:

    I am shocked & saddened, but not surprised, by the draft decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade. The majority is wrong & sets a dangerous standard for the future that effectively ignores the 9th Amendment. When a majority of the Court feels unconstrained by a long standing constitutional right & freely overturns precedent it shakes the foundation of the rule of law & calls other rights into question. All women should have the right to make informed decisions about health & reproduction without undue interference of the gov’t.

    Let’s hear that in every campaign speech.

  23. mike from iowa 2022-05-03 15:11

    Let’s sterilize all magat females at age 10. Then they won’t need to risk their lives giving birth or getting a far safer abortion.

  24. bearcreekbat 2022-05-03 15:39

    I suspect mfi’s comment is intended as hyperbole rather than a serious proposal, yet, if reports about the nature of the draft SCOTUS opinion are accurate (I have only read the first section, which appears to be described accurately by the media), then it will most certainly be constitutionally permissible once again for a state government to enact laws mandating sterilization of unwilling young girls. Prior to Griswald and Roe the SCOTUS held that the Constitution did not restrict the power of a State to order the mandatory sterilization of young girls deemed unfit to bear children.

    Of course, that was no longer good law after the SCOTUS recoginized an implicit “right of privacy” in procreation decisions. Since the SCOTUS now apparently decided that because there no explicit language in the Constitution mentioning “abortion” or limiting the power of a State to regulate “abortion,” it appears the same holds true for “sterilization” as it too is not mentioned in the explicit language of the Constitution. So if State officials deem “magat females” to be unfit or “intellectually disabled” at age 10, there is no longer federal Constitutional protection against mandatory sterilization “for the protection and health of the state.”

    Here’s a quiz: how many other existing constitutional rights are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, thus subject to elimination by state legislatures under this new SCOTUS decision?

  25. Allen Jeris 2022-05-03 15:43

    “sterilize all magat females at age 10.” Now that’s a cringe worthy statement.

    Not many who post on here care much about parental autonomy. Seems like everyone posting on here would be so happy that the state comes in and decides for us. Unless of course you are a hypocrite.

  26. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 15:51

    5. “Pro-life” is simply code for white people breeding. African-Americans terminate pregnancies at about the same per capita rate as white people do but don’t take their jobs. Latinas, however, have fewer abortions per capita but the extreme white wing laments it’s hemorrhaging jobs to Latinos.

  27. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-03 16:38

    If a person is capable of becoming pregnant and delivering a child, she is considered a woman. Some states would consider her a human, but not all.

    Women, if you have any health care at all (remember, you may not be considered human) GET PERMANENTLY STERILIZED. I’m as serious as a heart attack. I don’t care if you and your current or future sperm donor long for future kiddies and grandkiddies, at least get infertile for the sake of the planet. The Reptilians want women (possibly humans) to go back to the Nazi Ideal of children, kitchen, and church.

    Good luck getting contraceptives then. Take charge of your body NOW. I knew this day was coming, and I had my tubes tied in 1983. Best thing I ever did.

  28. DaveFN 2022-05-03 16:57

    Abortion clinics on tribal land are not a new idea, of course. From 2006, “Indian Tribe May Open Abortion Clinic on Its Land,” here’s how it played out then:

    “The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe [Cecilia Fire Thunder, nurse, community health planner] has vowed to build an abortion clinic on Indian land — despite South Dakota’s statewide ban on abortion. The clinic, which would be outside the jurisdiction of the state, could possibly remain open even if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling were someday overturned by the Supreme Court. But some residents of the reservation oppose the plan, which has sparked a national fundraising effort in support of the clinic.

    PATRICK LEE: Okay, chapter 5 section 1.05…

    RAY: Patrick Lee, a former chief judge for the Oglala Sioux tribe, says this section of tribal juvenile code effectively bans abortion. Lee says the law has been sitting quietly on the books for many years and is actually more strict than the abortion ban recently passed by the state.

    LEE: The tribal cultural value of respect for life is embodied in section 102 of the juvenile code, which deems an unborn child as an existing person.”

    The result a month later:

    “Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first woman to serve as president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, was impeached by a vote of 9-5 on Thursday.
    The tribal council impeached Fire Thunder after she stirred controversy about the state’s restrictive abortion law. She said she would start a women’s clinic on the reservation that could provide, among other services, abortions.

    Fire Thunder was suspended and ordered not to talk to the media prior to be being impeached. She plans to challenge the tribal council’s decision, which she said was not in accordance with the law.”

  29. P. Aitch 2022-05-03 18:03

    America’s Democratic Party is losing ground because rural American Democrats have lost interest in promoting progressive values.

    How Hard Will SD Democrats Fight for Women When SCOTUS Overturns Roe?

    You tell America, South Dakota Democrats.

    Be proud that you helped remove the worst President in American history.

  30. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 18:23

    Parental autonomy isn’t a thing. A burka is a thing.

  31. bearcreekbat 2022-05-03 18:35

    Allen Jeris’ comment that “Seems like everyone posting on here would be so happy that the state comes in and decides for us” is off base. Most of the comments I have read here express disagreement with the apparent decision of the SCOTUS repealing Roe so that in the future it now will be “the state [that] comes in and decides for us” since it appears now we will lose our constitutional right to make our own reproduction choices. The Republican goal “that the state comes in and decides for us” is close to being achieved so perhaps some Republicans will come forward to celebrate giving up a constitutional right to the power of the state, but so far they have been silent on this DFP thread.

  32. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-03 18:48

    P. Aitch:
    I don’t know if AMERICA’S Democratic Party is losing ground because Democrat’s have lost interest in promoting progressive values.
    I declare this, however. I KNOW Hot Spring’s and Fall River County’s Democrats have been harassed, threatened, physically assaulted, verbally abused, and vehicles beaten with baseball bats merely for having progressive bumper stickers. It was pretty bad when Hump was in office, but the abuse tripled when the loser lost.
    But, by all means, SD Democrats, let’s all stand up and say “Thank you, Sir: may I have another?”
    Any suggestions, readers? I’m 66 y.o. and tired of fighting the same old battles.

  33. Allen Jeris 2022-05-03 18:59

    Well Larry, autonomy is a noun. A “thing” is a noun. So go wear your burka and micro analyze a dictionary if that makes you feel better.

  34. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 19:04

    Parental autonomy isn’t a thing. A civics book is a thing.

  35. Ryan 2022-05-03 19:11

    allen, i think he meant parental autonomy isn’t a thing because it’s paradoxical. Some nouns are still not “real” such as unicorns, angels, devout atheists, etc. Autonomy is self-governance. Parental autonomy appears to include two people, one governing the other, while implying self-governing. A head scratcher for pedantic folks and scholars alike.

  36. larry kurtz 2022-05-03 19:23

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

  37. T 2022-05-03 19:41

    If the morning after pill was readily available over the counter for women in SD would be a better win than having women having to travel. Eagle butte or any other place is in the middle of nowhere with no aid or money to travel. This document was leaked and thankful it was ….. the over turn cannot happen….

  38. T 2022-05-03 19:45

    Disclaimer Don’t hate comment on me because I used eagle butte as an example, just my good neighbors is all and am full aware of medical needs within the community

  39. DaveFN 2022-05-03 21:47

    “As a state, we have the tools to reduce abortion in our state without compromising the private relationship between a woman and her physician…”. –Jamie Smith, Twitter

    Too ambiguous. What specific tools does he have in mind? If we have the tools, why aren’t we using them?

  40. Ryan 2022-05-03 23:02

    Dave, not to put words in mr smiths mouth, but i think that statement was a dig/callback related to his bulleted list of noem’s anti-mom and anti-child policies. Seems like he’s suggesting he’d support those things she opposes, and that he believes that will reduce abortions more safely than banning them. Empirically he’s right. Let’s see if my statewide neighbors agree. I hope so.

  41. mike from iowa 2022-05-04 08:17

    There is no explicit mention of guns or god in the constitution. There is no explicit mention of ammosexuals owning, let alone carrying, assault weapons in the constitution. Magats all the time ignore the establishment clause as they force their phony kristian religion on all American civilians.

  42. CK 2022-05-04 09:29

    The Constitution doesn’t mention women. Why should they think they have any rights at all?

  43. larry kurtz 2022-05-04 09:37

    Red states that ban women from going out of state for their procedures or prevent medications that cause abortion from being mailed are violating the commerce clause.

  44. O 2022-05-04 10:39

    P. Aitch, I more think the Democratic Party is losing ground because it isn’t putting in the work the right is. For the MAGA/Right/GOP, using message, building structures of (mis)information, cultivating candidates, stacking the courts, exploiting our democratic failures . . . has been a long game, and Democrats have been asleep at the wheel — not answering these challenges.

    Democrats think that at th 11the hour, strong candidates talking about issues will swing elections. They have been proven wrong time and time gain. Democrats played to voters’ intelligence; Republicans played to their stupidity and fears. One has been successful.

  45. larry kurtz 2022-05-04 12:36

    Indeed, ALEC has the money while Democrats believe holding the moral high ground is enough to win elections but Democratic voters need to get ruthless and start holding the Earth haters to account.

  46. O 2022-05-04 12:44

    Larry, your point also exposes that there is guidance for the GOP/Right/MAGAs. The party is only one element of this coordinated movement that has very clear string pullers. That has lead to the “big tent” of bringing in coalitions to put the GOP in power. That hierarchy of the right has only ONE focus: accumulation of power.

  47. Mark Anderson 2022-05-05 10:23

    Well CK, right now they have the power to abort constitutionally. Your right about Republicans however.

  48. jerry 2022-05-05 12:20

    Has anyone seen South Dakota women complain about this fascist ruling? What will it take for women to understand that republicans hate them, even their own republican people. If you think your husband, boyfriend or whomever cares about you, ask them their position on taking your rights from you. Ask them if they think women should even be able to vote.

  49. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-05 17:13

    You are correct, Jerry. I’ve not seen or heard one South Dakota woman check or confront a “man” about the vile sh*t she puts up with every day, IN PUBLIC, in the presence of her dearly beloved males.

    In re: an earlier post of mine on this topic, about progressive/librul bumper stickers on vehicles and the abuse that comes with it. A friend of mine, whom I met at the Community Action Center in Hot Springs where she and I met and collected our Senior Commodity Boxes (I’m 66 and she’s a grandmom supporting two minors) finally fled back to Shreveport (Shrevesport? sp) in her ancient Toyota Forester, which had BLM bumperstickers.

    She worked at the Hot Springs VAMC and rented a totally overpriced squat in town.

    Her sin? She is Black; her grandbabies are Black. She found Hot Springs more racist and misogynistic than Louiisiana, and could not afford to replace her windshield again.

  50. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-05-05 20:02

    Oops, my bad I meant her Subaru Forester.

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