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Lowe on Abortion: Repeal Mandatory PHC Visit, 72-Hour Waiting Period

Readers have asked where Democratic gubernatorial candidates Joe Lowe and Susan Wismer stand on women's reproductive rights. Bob Mercer gives us some insight on that issue by asking Lowe and Wismer what one abortion-related law they would pass, repeal, or change. Their answers:

Joe Lowe: I would repeal the need for pregnancy help centers and a waiting period. Men and women are smart enough to make family decisions for themselves — without government telling them what to do with their private lives.

Susan Wismer: I would propose legislation that encourages safe and healthy family planning for all South Dakotans. Women, their doctors and their families are able to make the best decisions for the future of their families without intrusion by our state government [Bob Mercer, "Lowe, Wismer Vie for Dem Nomination for Governor," Aberdeen American News, 2014.06.01].

Note that once again, Lowe beats Wismer on specifics, directly attacking South Dakota's most recent and offensive restrictions on women's autonomy and equal citizenship. But remember: in 2011, Rep. Wismer voted against HB 1217, the bill that brought us that offense. We can assume from Wismer's statement about state government intrusion that she would vote that way again... but Lowe doesn't leave us assuming.

(Note also Mercer's editorial choice, placing the abortion question first. Line that prioritization up with his May 21 coverage of the Brookings forum, in which he deemed the choice of Lieutenant Governor and positions on the death penalty. Given all the issues with which a governor deals, are those three questions really the headliners?)


  1. larry kurtz 2014.06.01

    Imagine a Governor Lowe pushing a repeal for the need for pregnancy help centers and a waiting period through a South Dakota legislature. The Catholic Church may be willing to send Jeremiah Murphy up with a bag of money for climate change action but expect him to tie up any discussion on reproductive freedoms.

  2. larry kurtz 2014.06.01

    If Mr. Lowe started talking about term limits for lobbyists he might my more of my attention.

  3. Nick Nemec 2014.06.01

    They are an indication of hot button issues pushed by social conservatives. In the grand scheme of things they do a damn little to reduce the incidence of abortion but they do distract the citizens from the pocketbook issues that could really make a difference for the majority of the people.

    If you really wanted to reduce the incidence of abortion institute a program of sex and contraceptive education along with widespread cheap, reliable, and easily accessible contraceptives. But that would be too "controversial" and might actually work thereby robbing the RWNJs of an issue.

  4. Kal Lis 2014.06.01

    I'll foolishly bite at hook cleverly covered in bacon flavored bait that I think Cory is tossing out in the last paragraph. (I've never been fond on minnows.)

    Mercer writes good prose, and he is not the print equivalent of any Fox News reporter. Far from it. In fact, I think he does as well as humanly possible when it comes to dealing with his individual biases. That said, I get the feeling that he would be most comfortable writing for a paper that had a name like The Statewide Republican.

  5. Nick Nemec 2014.06.01

    Mercer is a smart reporter but make no bones about it, he is a Republican, and as such is subject to being distracted by the bright shiny objects that distract all Republicans.


  6. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.01

    Nick is right, Republicans keep those hot button issues like abortion, immigration, food stamps, etc. on the table for one reason, to get votes.
    Lost to average Republicans is what the GOP is really doing, corporate tax breaks, subsidizes, and other self serving programs to help the wealthy get wealthier.
    Keep the perpetual debate on abortion and other social issues going and gain the support of unemployed, underemployed, those living in poverty the issues of the day and you have them hooked because they don't believe in abortion and are too ignorant to see what their captors are really doing.
    Poor and middle class Republicans supporting the GOP or tea party planks are very much the victims of the Stockholm Syndrome, especially Republican women.

  7. grudznick 2014.06.01

    I thought Mr. Mercer was a Democrat.

    What's with the squirrel references, Democrats are donkeys.

  8. Nick Nemec 2014.06.01

    Mercer was Janklow's press secretary.

  9. grudznick 2014.06.01

    Jankow had several libbies serving him, Mr. Nemec. You should know better.

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.01

    Roger is absolutely right.

    The majority of evangelicals saw through the Republican games of baiting them around a decade ago. Those evangelicals are the ones who are pushing Congress to address climate change, provide real compassionate care for the poor and suffering, racism, etc.

    However, the pseudo religious types are right there in the tea bagger mob making the biggest noise and raking in the money from their followers/victims. I noticed the American Family Assoc., which is, most unfortunately, not dead, is still spewing hate. The SPLC includes them in the Hate Group list.

    Those are the ones who make the whole Culture Wars schpiel work for them and the politicians who kiss their ass for the money that lands in their pockets. It all works via a well-structured system of political bribery. .

  11. Steve Sibson 2014.06.02

    It is positions like this that prevent social conservatives from voting Democrat instead of Crony Capitalist.

  12. Douglas Wiken 2014.06.02

    From Steve:"It is positions like this that prevent social conservatives from voting Democrat instead of Crony Capitalist"

    It is not the position of the Democrats that are the problem, it is the brain-dead South Dakotans mired in economic and social mythology which so totally separates them from reality.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.02


    Are you telling us that you vote Republican because you are pro life and find it necessary to legislate and govern what a woman does with her own body?
    You would choose an issue over which you have no control and vote for crony capitalism year after year knowing the destruction Republicans do to this state and nation.
    If you get sucked into the Republican spin machine, you deserve what you get.

  14. Steve Sibson 2014.06.02

    "Are you telling us that you vote Republican because you are pro life and find it necessary to legislate and govern what a woman does with her own body?"

    The body is not of that of the woman's, but is the body of another person who deserves the same civil rights afforded to all.

    And don't blame me for the voters having "no choice" but to vote for a Demo or a RINO. I ran Independent in 2010.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.02

    I didn't say anything about you having "no choice" in voting for a DINO or RINO. What I should have said is that voting Republican is a stupid choice.
    Steve, I challenge you to stand in the main street square of your chosen city or town, gather all the females together and tell them that their body is not theirs.
    It is a damn good thing you weren't elected to any political position given the perverse and extreme positions you choose.

  16. Steve Sibson 2014.06.02

    "I challenge you to stand in the main street square of your chosen city or town, gather all the females together and tell them that their body is not theirs"

    Rodger I challenge you to stand in the main street square of your chosen city or town and announce that your body is really your mother's.

  17. Lynn 2014.06.02

    Steve come on! If your a Stace supporter you should be knocking on doors or making phone calls right now rather than being here. It's all hands on deck time!

  18. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.02

    What part of a woman's body does not belong to you do you not understand?
    The Taliban has the same view of women that you and other tea party/Republicans do.

  19. Steve Sibson 2014.06.02

    "What part of a woman's body does not belong to you do you not understand?"

    Roger (Sorry about the typo on last comment), the part that has a different DNA than the woman's...the fetus. You now, the body that comes out at birth. That body belongs to someone else, not the woman.

    Pro-abortion advocates have something in common with the Taliban...killing.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.06.02

    Every white English-speaking foetus over 20 weeks must be fitted with a sidearm regardless of the health of the mother.

  21. owen reitzel 2014.06.02

    so who does the other body belong to Steve? You? society? Are the pro-lifers going to take care of the other body?

  22. Steve Sibson 2014.06.02

    "so who does the other body belong to Steve?"

    Owen, who does your body belong to? Not you? Your mother?

  23. larry kurtz 2014.06.02

    My body belongs to a desert goddess.

  24. larry kurtz 2014.06.02

    even before i was born she knew me.

  25. Jenny 2014.06.02

    It's the (recovering) Catholic in me that wants to say abortion is wrong.

  26. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.02

    Sibson is just about as wacked as Bos. They keep things interesting, even though their words hold minimal value. I don't pay much attention to what he says, and I encourage him to ignore anything I say.

  27. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.02

    My body is mine, my mother's body is her's, even in death.

    It would probably be safe to say that the male body that provided the sperm to create a fetus, must belong to society or Steve Sibson or whoever.

    There are many things that are wrong in our society; child abuse, spousal abuse, murder, rape and a host of other atrocities, do you launch the same campaign against these wrongs as you do against women that are sometimes forced to make the most difficult decisions of their lives.
    The abuse of women with the threat of forced pregnancy is bullying.

  28. Les 2014.06.02

    """There are many things that are wrong in our society; child abuse, spousal abuse, murder, rape and a host of other atrocities, do you launch the same campaign against these wrongs as you do against women that are sometimes forced to make the most difficult decisions of their lives.""" Does that make something more right or wrong?
    Tom Iron often spoke against men of the tribe for abusing and killing their women. I don't remember any of the Indian women or men speaking in favor of abortion, though I had native friends who had abortion, most spoke against it.
    Comparing Sib to Boz is just about as wacked as Boz. Something about an opinion versus an action or even versus another opinion.?

  29. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    Les, the problem with outlawing abortions is that there are far more effective ways to reduce the incidence of abortion. A comprehensive system of sex education and contraceptive education with widespread access to cheap and reliable contraceptives would do more to reduce the incidence of abortion than all the laws on the books that requiring waiting periods and forced counseling.

    But the problem with my proposal is the conservative idealogues who run this state would rather women have abortions than knowledge of, access to, and use contraceptives.

  30. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    "My body is mine, my mother's body is her's, even in death."

    So this issue is not just about the woman's body. All deserve equal justice. So Nick, the best way to reduce abortion is to require a jury trial that issues the death penalty against the unborn child.

  31. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    No Steve, the best way to reduce the incidence of abortion is the correct use of effective contraceptives.

  32. Les 2014.06.03

    No, Nick. The best way to reduce abortion is to make the family unit whole again and put in place a system that allows for care and concern for the pregnant woman while also gutting the DSS system that makes adoption almost impossible in SD.
    Contraception has been free and easy since the sixties unless you are arguing for putting it in the younguns Cheerios.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.06.03

    Nick is on the right track. The other problem with outlawing abortion is that, even if we all accepted the idea that we have the right to stop some women from having some abortions, we cannot craft a law that would effectively distinguish the tolerable abortions from the intolerable without asking questions that the government should never ask. No woman should have to answer questions or have conversations about her sex life with PHC propagandist Leslee Unruh or anyone else with whom she does not choose to have those conversations. That's why Joe Lowe is right on this issue

  34. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    "we cannot craft a law that would effectively distinguish the tolerable abortions from the intolerable without asking questions that the government should never ask"

    That is the question the jury is suppose to answer. If it is deemed the child deserves the death penalty, then the state, not Planned Parenthood, does the execution.

  35. Les 2014.06.03

    I have never advocated against making abortion illegal to suppress it. I argue to give them no reason to consider it in the first place which is no more about contraceptives than a host of other issues needing attention, Nick.
    I don't disagree with you on the folks running our state who have no real care or concern for the women. It is a totalitarian approach.

  36. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    I've outlined my plan to reduce the incidence of abortion, it's simple enough to be summarized in a few sentences, and it'll work if utilized.

    Les, I don't know what "making the family unit whole again" even means. What type of programs would be instituted to "make the family whole again"?

    Would "a system that allows for care and concern for the pregnant woman" mean that the State of SD would pick up 100% of the cost of prenatal care and delivery? If so sign me up. My contraceptive/sex ed plan coupled with your proposal of single payer healthcare for pregnant women is the best idea I've heard yet for reducing the incidence of abortion. Innovative ideas that don't force pregnant women to sit through an individual "counseling session" with Leslie Unruh are the ideas that will be most effective.

  37. Les 2014.06.03

    Making the family whole, Nick? It took three generations to corrupt the family unit which I believe is very controversial as in who or what actually played the largest part in taking it down. I will not venture down the path our education system could play in that arena. Four dads to a family or a dad with four children by four different woman does nothing for future stability.
    Yes, our state needs to provide the care and streamline adoption. A meth mother can continue to ruin children's lives in SD with more judicial approval than that baby being taken into another family members hands. Other states around us put the child's priorities first.

  38. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    Les, you've identified a problem and say we must fix it but give us no proposals for how to fix it. You're as bad as some politicians who mouth platitudes and say they'll "fight for us" but refuse to get into specifics. Short of forced sterilization I don't have any idea how you propose to tackle the problem you've outlined.

    I'm 100% behind your plan for SD picking up 100% the cost of prenatal care and delivery for 100% of all SD pregnancies. Single payer is the way to go.

  39. Les 2014.06.03

    Sorry Nick. I am not up to fixing the problem in 1000 words or less that took decades to happen and feel a solution would take months if not years to propose. You're as bad as some politicians who mouth ideas with little to no realism to satisfy yourself more than the problem.

  40. Les 2014.06.03

    Forced sterilization has nothing to do with the problem I see as the decline of the family unit.

  41. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.03

    Steve Sibson,

    Who is the rightful owner of the male sperm that is needed to create a fetus?

  42. Jenny 2014.06.03

    Most men don't care for condoms. It is unfortunately up to the woman to practice responsible birth control. I have had male friends say this when debating the abortion issue.

  43. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    This man cares for condoms...on other men.

    The Pill reduces or eliminates a cycle that evolved to flush toxins from a woman's reproductive tract and is likely responsible for the increased of HPV.

    Blue state men get that but red state men are mostly idiots and brutes. Democrats=safe sex; GOPers=cheap sex.

  44. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    Roger, prior to conception, the male and the same for the egg of a female. Once conception occurs, then another human being is created, as proven by DNA, as the egg and sperm are no longer separate.

  45. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    "Single payer is the way to go."

    And the federal debt is the payer?

  46. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    Remind me how human DNA evolved in just 6000 years.

  47. Jenny 2014.06.03

    You care about condoms...for other men. Funny, Larry!

  48. mike from iowa 2014.06.03

    So Sibson-you're saying two cats breed and produce a human(as long as one is male and one is female) Is that right? I don't think so.

  49. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    I didn't know Roger was talking about cats.

  50. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    Les you have to give us some idea of what you are talking about.

  51. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.03

    Dr. Sibson,

    So, if I understand you correctly, once the male sperm is used to fertilize the female egg, all male responsibility is gone because it has formed another life.
    The female carrying the fetus/child isn't responsible either because it is another human being that is responsible for itself?
    If the female egg/fetus no longer belongs to the woman, as you say, why does the male sperm not belong to the rightful owners, whoever they are?

  52. Steve Sibson 2014.06.03

    "So, if I understand you correctly, once the male sperm is used to fertilize the female egg, all male responsibility is gone because it has formed another life."

    No Roger, just the opposite. Once fertilization occurs the father and mother have the responsibilities of parenthood. The point I am making is that there are now "three" bodies.

  53. Ann 2014.06.03

    The important question is if abortion ends a human life and whether than is immoral or not. Science has proven life begins at conception( and since if left alone in the womb the embryo will (barring other natural medical problems) become a newborn baby, abortion ends a human life.

    The ways we can prevent unplanned pregnancies or deal with them once they exist can and should be debated endlessly but those issues do not change the fact that abortion is immoral.

    I am against abortion but for compassion and support for the mothers in the situation who feel it is their only option.

  54. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.03

    No Ann. Science has not proven that.

  55. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.03

    The egg and the sperm are just as alive and just as human and just as filled with possibilities as a 2 cell embryo.

    You do not have the right to control an adult woman's body. It's her own body and hers alone. Her body, and all it contains, is what makes her a valuable, unique, human being in reality, not potentiality. The living, breathing, visible, human being; with her memories, passions, relationships and responsibilities always takes precedence over unknowns, might bes, could a been, etc.

    She already is.

  56. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.03

    Don't you find it odd that pro-life Republicans believe in science when it comes to conception, but not when it comes to climate change?

  57. Ann 2014.06.03

    Do you have any scientific literature to back that up? Even abortionists agree that they are destroying life. British abortionist Judith Arcana stated:

    "It is morally and ethically wrong to do abortions without acknowledging what it means to do them. I performed abortions, I have had an abortion and I am in favor of women having abortions when we choose to do so. But we should never disregard the fact that being pregnant means there is a baby growing inside of a woman, a baby whose life is ended. We ought not to pretend this is not happening."

    I am also a woman and do not believe anyone should be able to tell me what to do with my body. However, if I am pregnant then the baby dependent on me is not a part of my body. Dependent on my body yes - but not my actual body. Like I said above, I don't want to use anger or force to change minds, but I wish we could take an honest look at what is actually taking place inside the womb. I don't believe violence (to the baby) is the answer.

  58. Ann 2014.06.03

    ^I don't believe violence to anyone is the answer but was referencing the fact that abortion is extremely violent to the baby.

  59. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    A foetus conceived in South Dakota has no civil rights until the third trimester.

    Rich women have full reproductive freedom while women at middle and lower income levels experience chilling effects on their rights. South Dakota's repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care is not only mean-spirited, it's discriminatory anti-choice extremism.

  60. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.03

    What method will be used to force a pregnancy on a woman who does not want the fetus?
    Will the state and federal government come in and hold a gun to her head?
    Will the state and federal government throw her in prison until she has the baby?
    Will the state and federal government keep her in prison because she wanted to have an abortion?

  61. Ann 2014.06.03

    No I don't think any of those forms of coercion are the answer. What I want people to discuss and decide first is whether or not abortion is the termination of a human life.

    I am truly sympathetic to women in those situations but believe there are better answers than what we are offering them. I fully admit the pro-life "political" movement does little to nothing to respond to those needs but that doesn't change the fact that abortion ends a life.

  62. Nick Nemec 2014.06.03

    This debate simply underscores that the best we can do is to reduce the incidence of abortion. The best way to reduce the incidence of abortion is to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy. The best way to reduce unwanted pregnancy is effective use of contraception.

  63. mike from iowa 2014.06.03

    Abortion is immoral-according to whom? I say it is immoral to force a woman to carry an unwanted fetus to term to satisfy someone elses definition of morality. I say it is immoral to force your idea of morality on someone else.

  64. Ann 2014.06.03

    Who is forcing anything? I said I thought there should be a discussion on whether it terminates a human life or not. You are welcome to your belief that it doesn't but I'm genuinely curious how you arrive at that belief. To me this transcends religious beliefs and politics and is strictly a human rights issue.

  65. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    Genocide, apartheid and mass incarcerations violate human rights every day in South Dakota yet the reproductive rights wedge issue drives the money in elections: one more reason ALEC has been so successful in driving sex education from the legislature's agenda.

    Blame the Catholic Church and the other sects for the strengthening of ignorance.

  66. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    The State of South Dakota has seized thousands of American Indian children and marketed them to the white foster care industry: one more human right violated every day.

  67. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    Senator Mark Bennet offered a bill today that would ban former US lawmakers from being lobbyists: imagine such a defense of human rights in South Dakota.

  68. Ann 2014.06.03

    I agree that the issue alone shouldn't drive elections and people who are pro-life should respect & protect all life.

    So far no one has challenged (with scientific evidence) whether it terminates a human life or not though.

  69. Jerry 2014.06.03

    Roger C, your question about why republicans deny science research regarding climate change but cling to every theory about abortion is really a powerful one. You can listen (if you can stomach it) to Hannity, O'Reilly and the rest of clowns in foxobia bitch and moan about science and climate change in general. But then they and you know who's on this blog, all think that science is king when it comes to abortion. I cracked up when I read about Mr. Sibson and his theory of "Rodger I challenge you to stand in the main street square of your chosen city or town and announce that your body is really your mother's." After seeing that, I am now convinced that the only way to solve the problems in this country is by the cloning of females. If this is the best argument that men can have, then we must simply evolve (factual science word) into oblivion (not the ghost town by Hill City either).

  70. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    Spontaneous abortions occur every few minutes as the result of exposure to ag chemicals: environmental lawyers argue every Americans has the right to a toxin-free life. Calling that a human right makes it a wedge issue.

  71. Ann 2014.06.03

    I agree ag chemicals cause health problems and am not a fan of pesticides in general. But there is a big difference between a miscarriage and an abortion - one happens naturally and without outside force and the other happens with intent to destroy the life inside the womb.

  72. Roger Cornelius 2014.06.03

    Jerry, great response. Still waiting for Sibson to get back to me on the science question.

    In a perfect world we wouldn't have abortions, but we are from a perfect world.

    Actually, I'm struggling to understand what Ann and Steve want society and government to do about abortions. What exactly does the pro-life movement want from women carrying fetuses?

    If a woman chooses to abort a fetus, whether it is moral or immoral, legal or illegal, what alternatives does the woman have, if any?

    Do the pro-lifers want to fully criminalize all abortion procedures with corresponding prison sentences?

    Or do they want to talk about and act on suggestions that Nick Nemec made?

    What is the end result and consequences of what the pro-lifers want, aside from standing on the street corner with signs about morality, religious superiority, etc.

  73. Jerry 2014.06.03

    Since the begining of what we can call human activity, there have been abortions. Not only miscarriages, but induced abortions which happened as a result of lack of food and resources. You can read about that in the good book as a point of historical significance even if you are a non-believer and it was not condemned either, it was part of life in ancient times. Abortion was as important in those days of survival as it is in today's world. I really do not know what these anti-abortion folks want and neither do they. This is simply a political means to drive wedges into society and it works, the only way to defeat it is to call it bullshit and move on.

  74. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    How is a spontaneous abortion from industrial chemicals a natural occurrence? It's wrongful death if it can be proved and several have happened between comments here. What a woman does to anything growing in her body, whether it results in a oophorectomy, or any clinical procedure, it is her choice as long as it isn't a chilling affect somebody else's civil rights.

  75. larry kurtz 2014.06.03

    chilling effect on somebody else's civil rights.

  76. mike from iowa 2014.06.03

    Ann-every red state in America has a wingnut legislature that pushes their morals on the populace. Usually by falsely claiming anti-abortion measures are to protect the lives of pregnant women.

  77. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.04

    Ann, you said, "if I am pregnant then the baby dependent on me is not a part of my body. Dependent on my body yes - but not my actual body." Huh?

    You also quoted "abortionists." There is no such medical specialty. There are doctors who include abortions in their practices however.

    Lastly, you are insisting that someone respond to your question about life. That is not the issue. The issue is, does an adult woman have the right to make decisions about her own body? Is she truly an autonomous human being? Does she have the right to make her own health care decisions? Is she allowed to be in charge of her own well-being, without the intrusions

  78. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.06.04

    without intrusions by a small group of mostly men who haven't the tiniest amount of knowledge about her? Must she and her doctor limit health care choices only to what a bunch of old white men allow?

    Those are the questions. It's not about whether a small collection of cells are alive. They are.

  79. JeniW 2014.06.04

    If a baby is not a part of the woman's body, then why is it necessary to remove the baby if it dies while in the womb?

    If a baby is not a part the woman's body, then why is it necessary for a woman to have surgery as a result of an ectopic pregnancy?

    Why? Because without removing the dead body, and the ectopic pregnancy bursts the fallopian tube or other organ, she will die.

    So yes, pregnancy is a part of the woman's body.

    The bigger issue at hand is to make sure men and women use any, and all, methods to prevent conception if either or both partners are unwilling, or unable to fulfill the responsibilities of being parents.

Comments are closed.