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Noem Breaks Special Session Promise, Cloaks Error in Silly Superlative

Shoot first, aim later….

After leaping to the mic on May 2 to say she would “immediately call for a Special Session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota,” Governor Kristi Noem has decided that there are no lives to save, or that they aren’t worth saving, or that her Democratic challenger Jamie Smith is right on the money and she can’t take the political risk of hosting a Special Session that would turn Pierre into a roiling bed of protest with 5,000 women outside the Capitol telling her to get her damn dirty paws off their uteri.

No-follow-through Noem yesterday aborted her premature and ill-conceived call for a Special Session to tighten South Dakota’s abortion laws. But she has to cloak her backstep from her misstep in yet more meaningless superlativery:

Today, Governor Kristi Noem, legislators, and pro-life advocates issued a joint statement on South Dakota’s policies to save lives and help mothers:

“In the last few weeks, it has become clear that South Dakota is the most pro-life state in the nation. Our laws are saving lives, and resources like are helping mothers. For these reasons, we are of one mind that South Dakota can prepare to advance on our progress in the regular legislative session, and a special session will not be necessary.”

The statement was co-signed by Governor Kristi Noem; Senators Lee Schoenbeck, Jessica Castleberry, and Erin Tobin; Representatives Jon Hansen, Taylor Rehfeldt, and Rebecca Reimer; Dale Bartscher, Executive Director for South Dakota Right to Life; and Lisa Gennaro, Legislative Liaison for Concerned Women for America of South Dakota [Office of the Governor, press release, 2022.07.15].

“The most pro-life state in the nation”? What does that mean? How does one quantify that? The Guardian reports that 12 states ban abortion right now. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin ban abortion from conception and make no exception for rape or incest, like South Dakota. So objectively speaking, South Dakota law is no more anti-abortion than the laws of those six states.

To support its abortion ban, Texas is offering those bounties to good patriotic Gileadians who catch abortioners. By putting its money where its mouth is and essentially deputizing everyone in the state to root out this nefarious crime, Texas is arguably showing it is more anti-abortion than South Dakota.

But when Kristi gets caught with her chaps down, she can’t just say, “Oops, my bad.” She has to come blustering out with some louder, wilder claim that she can’t prove but which sounds just peachy dripping from her honeyed lips. (By the way, click those links. Those three examples of Kristi Noem making things up to cover her keester come from just the past week. The torrent of malarkey flowing from her mouth is reaching Trumpist volume.)

Noem’s May 2 call for an immediate post-Alito Special Session was another stunning example of Noem’s inability to pay attention to her own state’s laws. The Alito ruling in Dobbs triggered South Dakota’s 2005 abortion ban and thus mooted pretty much every existing and pending abortion restriction in South Dakota, including every anti-abortion bill that Noem ever signed. The only ways for the Legislature to tighten South Dakota’s laws would be to ban abortions meant to save the life of the mother, increase the criminal penalties, and place restrictions on speech, interstate travel, and interstate commerce that would never withstand judicial scrutiny or Alito’s states’ rights philosophy.

Besides, the radical fringe of her party has been agitating for a Special Session, and after those nuts made such a fuss at convention, Noem and other SDGOP leaders can’t let those whackadoodles steal Noem’s thunder with their really radical proposals. A Special Session would also cut into Noem’s national book tour and (vice?)-presidential campaign travel, and she can’t have that.

Kristi Noem isn’t breaking her promise to hold a Special Session because she’s realized South Dakota is already “the most pro-life state in the nation.” That’s like saying we don’t need a Special Session because we have the yellowest sunshine in the nation.

Noem is breaking her promise because a Special Session wouldn’t result in any meaningful, palatable, or viable new abortion restrictions. It would only spotlight Noem’s opponents—more radical right-wingers inside the Capitol; thousands of torqued-off women outside—and Noem’s inability to craft coherent policy.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-07-16 08:57

    One of the most rabid Republican donors, the Family Heritage Alliance, has condemned video lootery for decades yet South Dakota’s demonic legislature ignores their pleas to end it so Kristi Noem’s “pro-life” gaslighting is just another ploy to raise campaign dollars whatever the costs, right?

  2. 96Tears 2022-07-16 09:47

    Tough talk from a backstabbing coward: “I will immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.”

    Translation: “I will immediately call for a press release.”

    Well, not so “immediately.” We got the press release two and a half months later.


  3. grudznick 2022-07-16 09:48

    This is a blogging with which grudnzick can whole-heartedly stand behind Mr. H. and clap him on the back. We do not want to shine the light on Mr. Bartscher and give him any soap box upon which to stand and squawk.

  4. Loti 2022-07-16 10:06

    A “Special session to save lives” should have happened with Covid and SD and many people would be alive today. Theres other ways lives can be saved in SD. Move On, leave the anti abortion push alone.

  5. Loren 2022-07-16 10:32

    Why would one need a “special session” when there was already a right wing, bat crap crazy trigger law waiting in the wings… other than to draw national attention to how extremely right wing our gov can be? We could have had a REAL governor, but chose a poster child.

  6. sx123 2022-07-16 10:45

    What ate they gonna talk about in the special session anyhow? Ways to tie women/girls to birthing beds until the baby comes?

  7. All Mammal 2022-07-16 10:59

    What’s worse than having ants in your pants?


    What’s worse than having uncles in your pants?

    Living in South Dakota where you are forced to have Uncle’s child.

    I’ll be here all week;)

  8. cathy 2022-07-16 11:41

    Did she even know about the trigger law? She not the sharpest hoe in the shed.

  9. MD 2022-07-16 12:26

    Instead, she opted for a photo op with female prisoners who are part of a program allowing moms to have their babies in prison – saying it’s a ground breaking program, yet ignoring the fact that SD incarcerates twice as many women as neighboring states.

    Paid family leave could be ground breaking. A recent experience in the hospital NICU showed the glaring differences. Some parents were able to spend hours a day bonding with their infants – the ones with work paid leave. Unfortunately, most infants seemed to fall within the working poor and had to go back to work before their kids were discharged and only had periodic parental visits. The spectrum even included parents that were unable to pick up their infants for over a week after they were eligible for discharge because their ride had to work.
    The impact of the varying parental involvement on the staff was very evident to me – it is hard to see the results of policy failure every day.

  10. Eve Fisher 2022-07-16 12:46

    I just read her statement on “Visiting Mothers and Their Newborn Children in Our State Prisons: Hope for the Future”. They may have a mother-baby unit in Pierre, but I notice no one’s talking about the fact that pregnant inmates give birth at the hospital in shackles…

  11. Loti 2022-07-16 14:28

    Babies born of moms in shackles will have quite a story to tell when they grow up. Something is so wrong there. The young are the future of tomorrow.
    It makes one wonder if half the moms don’t even have to be in prison. S.D. is such a law abiding state its frightening.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-16 14:30

    Eve–stay on’s barbarism, Noem style. Meanwhile, she has books to sell and can’t be distracted.

  13. mike from iowa 2022-07-16 14:41

    Visiting moms in prison is likely a short, one time foray not likely to occur again. No capital to be raised where the wealthy whites ain’t.

  14. Vi Kingman 2022-07-16 16:52

    Rep.Aaron Aylward from Harrisburg is part of this Freedom Caucus and he wanted the special session to close loopholes.
    My question to him is “What loopholes do you want to close?”
    I can guess and you mentioned some Cory, but I want to hear it from the horses mouth.

  15. Mark Anderson 2022-07-16 17:46

    I’m sure businesses will be flocking to South Dakota now. This will bring the red states even lower on the scale.
    Are women going to be forced to remain instate? You do know that nationwide less than one percent of rapists get a felony conviction. I’m sure it’s less in So. Dak. boys. There you go, its your time to shine.

  16. P. Aitch 2022-07-16 19:27

    Did you know and guess where SD is headed?
    In Missouri pregnant women can’t get divorced even if the guy is beating them.
    Pregnant women can file for divorce but judges aren’t allowed to finalize until the baby is born and of course, getting an abortion is a crime.
    Even if there’s physical abuse.

  17. All Mammal 2022-07-16 19:55

    We have a problem in our state.
    One that’s conceited and full of hate.
    She walks on rugs woven with silken threads.
    It might as well be the people’s necks upon which she treads.
    The lazy problem isn’t caused by people not doing their own share.
    The phony problem is a rhinestone cowgirl who twirls her big teased hair.
    This inept problem causes pain, illness and even death.
    The sanctimonious problem is not the schools nor parents, not the weed or even meth.
    The insincere problem’s unthought prayers are never spoken and won’t be sent.
    The racist problem condemns the poor and shames the less fortunate into repent.
    Our insolent problem keeps getting bigger and has become a growth.
    Sever it and live or let it feed. We must choose because we can’t have both.
    The lying problem thinks she is better than our throats on which she stands.
    The unkind problem is hoping our voice is choked even if she has to do it with her own two hands.
    Silence on election day will enable the wasteful problem and stack regret upon our soul.
    Lop off the God awful problem come this November at the poll.
    Long live the People.

  18. Jake 2022-07-16 20:35

    Jamie Smith for Governor!

  19. Kurt Evans 2022-07-16 22:12

    Vi Kingman writes:

    Rep.Aaron Aylward from Harrisburg is part of this Freedom Caucus and he wanted the special session to close loopholes.
    My question to him is “What loopholes do you want to close?”
    I can guess and you mentioned some Cory, but I want to hear it from the horses mouth.

    The SDFC press release says:

    The SD Freedom Caucus pointed to dilation and curettage, or commonly referred to as a D & C, procedures that are done to remove abnormal cells in the uterine lining, noting that this was a common practice to perform covert abortions before 1973, when the Roe v. Wade decision made abortions legal.

    “The recent Dobbs opinion was great,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “because in South Dakota, it enacted an excellent pro-life trigger law, but now we need to close the loopholes.” Aylward noted that currently D & C procedures can be performed without any requirement for a preoperative pregnancy screening, allowing the procedure to be done without classifying it as an abortive procedure.

    Representative Aylward is a former state chair of the Libertarian Party, which allows for honest disagreement among its members about the appropriate role of government in securing the rights to life and liberty.

  20. Guy 2022-07-16 22:56

    The Queen Chicken says what?

  21. mike from iowa 2022-07-17 18:14

    Now that employers around the country know if their workers get knocked up they will be forced to carry to term, will that cause fewer women to be hired and what if the work entails dahgerous conditions for fetuses? Should every employer be forced to build ambulatory care centers within 30 miles of hospitals with hospital admitting privileges in case of accidents?

    I thought all forms of forced labor was prohibited unless one was incarcerated behnind bars.

  22. Curt 2022-07-17 20:03

    OK, the story is our Governess backing away from her high profile pledge to call the Legislature into Special Session for the purpose of “saving lives.” Well … if we need to save lives, shouldn’t that take priority? Book tours, Fox News appearances, I suppose that’s important, but “saving lives” – what’s more important than that? And if she was somehow not aware that SD already restricted abortion rights more severely than almost anyplace this side of Iraq, then she and her Crack Staff are even more incompetent than I thought.
    If we had a real Governor, he or she would focus on solving problems. This Governess has never had any interest in other people (except immediate family members) or problems they may have. People, We Need a New Governor!

  23. mike from iowa 2022-07-17 20:12

    Noem Nothing’s disgusting behavior and refusing to so anything about covid should tell a person all they need to know about her wanting to save lives. She is as phony as a 9 dollar bill. And she lies.

  24. Mark Anderson 2022-07-18 18:43

    You know mike from iowa. South Dakota has around twice as many deaths from Covid as Australia. Australia has about 25 million people. When you get to the freedom thingy, is all that death what it takes to make freedom ring? A good debate would be wonderful for killer Kristi.

  25. bearcreekbat 2022-07-19 00:52

    Cory writes “So objectively speaking, South Dakota law is no more anti-abortion than the laws of those six states.” That sentence is incorrect unless either I am reading SD homicide statutes incorrectly, or other states also have statutes that indicate an unauthorized abortion (killing of an unborn child) constitutes 1st degree murder and may be punished by death due to an always existing statutory “aggravating cirtcumstance” (the age of the unborn child when killed).

    If I am reading the statutes incorrectly, perhaps some DFP commenter can come forward and show everyone my mistake. I hope I am wrong, but the silence from every single reader, including DFP’s natural contrarians, is simply deafening. If I am reading these statutes correctly, however, then Noem and her fellow Republicans are correct: given SD’s explict definition of 1st degree murder, South Dakota does not need a special session to make matters worse for the woman involved, her doctor, midwife, advisors, and anyone brave enough to help her unlawfully terminate her pregnancy – mandatory life in prison or the death sentence currently rank as the most severe punishment currently authorized by the SCOTUS current interpretations of the 8th Amendment.

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