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District 31 Candidates on Abortion: Teupel and Coe Promise More Insanity

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.


  1. Becca 2012.05.16

    I am so sick of politicians and other people (men or women) trying to crawl inside my uterus. Last I checked, it was MY uterus, my body, my health.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2012.05.16

    Everytime there is a woman having irresponsible sex there is a man having irresponsible sex also.

  3. PrairieLady 2012.05.16

    WOW....SSDD. How many times have we voted on this issue and how misinformed people still are.
    If they do not like woman having control over their own bodies, they need to support and raise these children that are born. All these pro life agencies/ groups or whatever need to have the funds to raise these children. If they want to have control over a woman's body, then i t should not be the woman's responsiblity anymore after she has the child.
    Damn, the pro lifers can start some new orphanages and pay for people to adopt the children and for the mothers to go on with life.
    I know it sounds funny, but it is easy for the pro lifers when they really do not have an responsibility for the outcomes. Hope that makes some sense.... I am so ticked I can not see straight.

  4. Ben Cerwinske 2012.05.16

    "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."

    ---From what I understand there are unique scenarios that we can identify, particularly within the first few weeks of pregnancy, which make the issue of a fetus as a separate person muddled. However, with or without religious beliefs, there comes a point when the idea of a fetus as a separate person is reasonable. It's with that understanding that pro-lifers don't accept the "you can't tell me what to do with my body" argument. They therefore maintain the understandable belief that the unborn child has its own rights which deserve protecting...

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.16

    What is the distinction between the rights enjoyed by an adult citizen, the rights of a child, the rights of a viable fetus, and the rights of an unviable fetus?

  6. PrairieLady 2012.05.16

    Why are old white guys telling me as a women what I can do? I............. damn.

  7. Ben Cerwinske 2012.05.16


    Good question. I'm not sure if I'll be satisifed with my own answer, but I'll give it a shot.
    It's true that adults and children don't have the same rights. You could give a child the same rights, but I don't think we'd like the result. Likewise, a fetus won't have the same rights as a child (they can't because they're not born yet). The pro-life position (at least speaking for myself, since I tend to lean toward that camp) is that a fetus (which we believe to be a human being) deserves the right to live. As for an unviable fetus, it depends on what you mean. If you just mean a fetus that can't yet live a part from the mother, we would still recognize it as a human being. If you mean a fetus that doctors say doesn't stand a chance at living period, many of us still believe it to be a human being and therefore maintain it's right to live as long as possible. I can appreciate, for as much as I'm able to, people's difficulty with that last point especially if the mother or a twin sibling's life is in danger as well.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.16

    Viable: here I mean able to live by any other means than direct support of the mother's body. The fact there is no other way to protect that life (yes, I agree it is biological life) than to demand the physical service of the mother raises a key question: can we/the State demand that a woman submit her body to the service of another human being? (I use the term human being as the abortion banners would apply it to the earliest sperm-egg interaction.)

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.16

    And Roger, why don't we ever see legislation targeting those men?

  10. Carter 2012.05.16

    I would say yes and no, Cory, though that needs some explanation. I believe strongly in time limits on abortions. For me, it all comes down to science. A fetus' brain activity doesn't begin for something like 25 weeks. Without brain activity, it isn't "alive" like a human is alive. It's alive like a plant is alive. Not only has the infant not fully developed, but it isn't even a sentient being. It hasn't had a single thought or feeling (physical or mental) ever. I don't see the problem with a woman choosing to terminate a pregnancy before the baby is even really a baby. It's just a sack of meat.

    But, once brain activity begins, I think it's a different story. Since the fetus can think and feel, it is alive like you and me, and should therefore have the same protections as you and me.

    If you ask me, I would say that saying life starts at conception is more of a religious viewpoint than a practical or scientific one, and basing laws on religion is bad.

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