The Northern Hills Patriots subjected the District 31 Legislative candidates to a question on abortion... a social issue which ought to be a moot point in South Dakota, which already makes it harder to get an abortion than any other state in the union. Ladies, brace yourselves:
House candidate John Teupel, who cited his fundagelical cred at the top and bottom of the forum, said that nine hours of testimony on an abortion bill that came before his committee during his earlier service in the Legislature broke him down to tears. He suggests he might compromise on cases of rape and incest, but then he launched into the usual grandstanding about how all you women are out there having irresponsible sex. You're housing a living being in your body, just as you would in your house, says Teupel. You can't decide to kill a child in your house, so you can't decide to kill a living being in your body. "I don't see what the difference is," Teupel declared, "other than time and nutrition when it's born and when it's in the mother's womb."
Wow. Teupel seems to wholly dismiss the woman's unique nine-month role as the only viable shelter for that fetus, as well as the unique and inviolable autonomy each of us holds over our own bodies.
Non-FDA-certified medical expert Gary Coe shows his true Tea Party stripes by always looking under the bed for monsters. He claims Planned Parenthood promotes abortion to make money. He manages to tie in local Tea Party bugaboo Senate Bill 38, claiming that by deeming pregnancy an emergency condition, that ObamaCare-enacting legislation somehow promotes abortion. He then contends that Planned Parenthood does nothing to counsel women and only kills babies and sells birth control.
Again, wow: haven't we heard and debunked lies like this before?
Tim Johns probably lost every vote in the room by speaking sanely. He said the Legislature can't overrule the Supreme Court and that we must deal with the law of the land as it is. At best, he said, change takes time. He did hint toward the fallacy of equating the rights of blacks with the rights of fetuses. But he at least made it sound like relegating women to second-class citizenship is not his first priority.
Incumbents Rep. Fred Romkema and Sen. Tom Nelson sounded similarly sane. Romkema reminded folks that he voted against South Dakota's challenged 72-hour waiting period for abortions and concluded with a simple "I struggle with this issue." Nelson said South Dakota already has pretty restrictive laws.
On abortion rights, Lawrence County voters have three out of five candidates who at least sound sane on abortion... and two candidates who will likely waste more time insulting women and chasing bogeymen instead of balancing the budget.