House Bill 1217, the coercive counseling abortion measure awaiting the governor's signature, is so poorly written, so obviously overturnable by any court in the land on HIPAA violations and separation of church and state, that I'm starting to think it's just a ploy to divert our attention from the budget negotiations. Alas, it's working this morning.
Senator Al Novstrup demonstrated Saturday that he lives in an alternate universe. The prime Senate sponsor of HB 1217 made the following comment at a crackerbarrel in Aberdeen Saturday:
"It's a small bill.... Drive across town, spend a few minutes with a counselor, wait 72 hours [Sen. Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), quoted in J.J. Perry, "Lawmakers Debate Education, Taxes at Final Crackerbarrel," Aberdeen American News, 2011.03.06].
Senator Novstrup's statement is either specious or stupid. Perhaps Senator Novstrup simply takes too literally the idea that South Dakota is just one big small town. Or perhaps the Senator is imagining that women from Sissteton, Aberdeen, and Mobridge will drive to Sioux Falls, visit the doctor, then drive across town to be browbeaten by Leslee Unruh's uncertified Christian volunteers, then rent a motel room for three nights so they can just drive back across town to the doctor for the abortion, and that all expense and time off work and away from family is a small matter.
Senator Novstrup has already cast his vote, but when you get done contacting Governor Daugaard's office to urge a veto, you might want to take time to contact Senator Novstrup to set him straight on the true import of his unconstitutional and misogynist legislation... as well as how far a drive it is from Pine Ridge to Sioux Falls.
Bonus Republican Hypocrisy: Senator Novstrup is profoundly concerned about manufacturing the concept of Constitutional protection for a mother's right to a relationship with her child. Meanwhile, Senator Nostrup has backed legislation (HB 1088, HCR 1004) that makes it harder for this Mellette teenager to preserve her relationship with her mother---i.e., to not die from a rare disease---without being bankrupted by medical bills.