Planned Parenthood says it will take South Dakota straight to court if Governor Dennis Daugaard signs HB 1217, the egregious mandate forcing women to sit through lectures by uncertified propagandists. Daugaard spokesman Tony Venhuizen plays it cool, says the boss is already operating under the assumption that his signature triggers litigation, and reminds us that the governor has until March 24 to sign or decline.

The court challenge won't last long: HB 1217 will die hard and fast on HIPAA and separation of church and state before anyone whispers Roe v. Wade. A quick case would be a good thing for the bill's legislative proponents, who swore up and down during debate in the House and Senate that they had $3 million in private donations ready to spare us taxpayers the cost of hiring lawyers to wage this futile court fight. Only after the legislators cast their votes do we discover the actual amount in the public litigation fund is $14,500.

The obfuscating shysterism dances all over on this one:

  1. Rep. Roger Hunt says his three-million-dollar comment during legislative debate referred to donations for previous legal battles. Sure, Roger. Sure. Just keep changing your words to suit the needs of the moment.
  2. Senator Al Novstrup says "There's a network of private donors nationwide that are willing to step up and make the difference." Funny: Senator Russell Olson cited the threat of that kind of big-money outside influence as his reason for voting against allowing a special election on tax increases to fix the budget.
  3. Senator Olson comes for seconds and thirds on foot-in-mouth: District 8's great fiscal conservative declares the price of litigation doesn't concern him: "Cost would be secondary when it comes to protecting the life of an unborn child," he tells that Sioux Falls paper. But wait: protecting the life of an unborn child? Doesn't that assume this bill is about stopping abortions? Haven't proponents gone to great lengths to assure us, as Rep. Manny Steele did from the House floor, that HB 1217 is "not a bill preventing abortions"?

This inability to keep their story straight makes me all the more unwilling to accept legislation like HB 1217. Abortion foes like Hunt, Olson, and Steele show such facility with twisting words suggest that they would justify lying to stop abortions. How then can I trust people of the same ideological persuasion at the crisis pregnancy centers not to lie to women with bogus science? How can we trusts CPCs not to write bogus notes to every doctor declaring every requested abortion "coerced, uninformed, and involuntary" just to threaten doctors with legal liability and scare them away from providing abortions?

The courts will spare us from testing those concerns on HB 1217. Alas, we need to send a clearer message to our legislators that we're tired of wasting time and money on these futile exercises in misogyny. We've turned down two bad abortion laws by solid 55% majorities at the polls; come 2012, it will be time to muster similar majorities against Roger Hunt, Russell Olson, and all the other anti-abortion ideologues.