Posts tagged "South Dakota"


H/T: Dana Lieblson at Mother Jones

Lawmakers in South Dakota are beginning to take the first steps to advance a stringent law that could end up banning abortions after just seven weeks of pregnancy. If it becomes law, it will be the second harshest ban in the nation — right behind the state’s neighbor, North Dakota, which passed a six-week abortion ban last year that’s currently blocked from taking effect.

The legislation in question, House Bill 1241, doesn’t explicitly ban abortions at a certain point in a pregnancy. Instead, it uses vague and biased language to describe the abortion procedure in a way that could have serious consequences for the doctors in the state.

HB 1241 seeks to “prohibit the dismemberment or decapitation of certain living unborn children.” The doctors who violate the proposed law would be charged with a Class 2 felony, and could face up to 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. According to the Republican lawmaker who introduced the measure, state Rep. Isaac Latterell, the bill is intended to target certain types of later abortion procedures after 16 weeks of pregnancy that involve dilation and evacuation.

“It just makes clear that a certain procedure that is totally horrific and gruesome to any reasonable person would not be an acceptable method of ending a child’s life, and that is to dismember or decapitate a living, unborn child,” Latterell explained to the Argus Leader.

However, as RH Reality Check reports, there aren’t any clinics in South Dakota that perform those type of later abortions in the first place. There’s only one abortion clinic in the state, and it offers surgical abortion procedures up to 13 weeks of pregnancy. The patients who require the type of later abortion care that Latterell is concerned about are referred to other states. But that doesn’t mean HB 1241 wouldn’t have any impact. The measure’s vague language would actually target the abortion doctors who are providing earlier procedures, because they may be too worried about the potential legal ramifications of ending a pregnancy.


And this type of language about abortion — construing it as “dismemberment or decapitation” — is specifically intended to give the impression that all abortion procedures are barbaric and all abortion providers are monsters. In fact, nearly 90 percent of abortions occur in the first trimester and aren’t analogous to the scene that HB 1241 conjures up. Nonetheless, the anti-choice community repeatedly accuses Planned Parenthood of committing “infanticide,” or uses terms like “post-birth abortion” and “partial-birth abortion” to evoke gruesome images. And after illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell’s crimes came to light, the right-wing media has done everything in its power to misconstrue safe and legal clinics as carrying on Gosnell’s work.

HB 1241 has been referred to South Dakota’s Health and Human Services Committee. And lawmakers in the state have recently been trying to restrict abortion in other ways, too — this week, a legislative panel advanced a different abortion bill that would ban women from ending a pregnancy based on the fetus’ gender, another requirement that would be difficult for doctors to enforce.

Terrible law, South Dakota.

Television personality Pat O’Brien said Tuesday that he’s open to pursuing public office in his native South Dakota, the Argus Leader reported.

O’Brien raised the possibility during an interview on comedian Adam Carolla’s podcast, saying that one of his political science professors at the University of South Dakota long encouraged him to run for office, which he said he “still may do.”

He did not specify which office he may pursue. South Dakota has both an open U.S. Senate race and a gubernatorial election next year. 

h/t: TPM Livewire

Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) acknowledged over the weekend that she is mulling the possibility of running in South Dakota’s open 2014 U.S. Senate race.

No Democrat has declared in the race for the seat currently held by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who announced last month that he will not seek re-election next year. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is the lone Republican to declare, although there is plenty of speculation that Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), the tea party favorite who unseated Herseth Sandlin in 2010, may toss her hat in the ring as well. Brendan Johnson, a U.S. attorney and son of the retiring senator, is also said to be considering a run in the race, but Democrats in the state are desperate to avoid a primary. 

A survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling last month showed Herseth Sandlin locked in tight races with Rounds and Noem in hypothetical general election matchups. 

H/T: TPM LiveWire

(Reuters) - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, does not plan to run for re-election when his current term ends in 2014, sources close to the matter and key Capitol Hill staffers said on Monday.

Johnson, 66, joined the Senate in 1997 and has been widely expected to retire at the end of his term. He plans to make the announcement on Tuesday, the sources said. Johnson’s staff said that he will hold a press conference at the University of South Dakota on Tuesday.

His retirement would leave a vacant seat in a conservative-leaning state that could be difficult for Democrats to defend as they try to protect their majority in the Senate.

Political analysts expect Johnson’s son, Brendan Johnson, who is South Dakota’s U.S. attorney, to emerge as a potential Democratic candidate in the 2014 election. The younger Johnson has not announced any formal plans to seek the Senate seat.

Former Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who lost a bid for reelection in 2010, is another leading choice to run if the incumbent senator retires.

Johnson’s exit from Congress would also create an opening at the top of the banking committee, which he has led since 2011. Currently, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is the second-ranking Democrat on the panel.

h/t: HuffPost Politics

South Dakota’s state senate today passed a bill that would extend the mandatory 72 hour waiting period women face when seeking an abortion in the state to specifically exclude weekend days and holidays from counting towards the 72 hour period. Apparently, South Dakota’s Republican lawmakers think women aren’t able to think as well on weekends. 

The state House of Representatives approved the anti-choice legislation earlier this month, and it now heads to the governor’s desk. 


The last two nights of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show featured segments on how abortion rights are under attack in 4 states (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota), both by anti-choice zealots and GOP Governors (Bryant [MS], Dalrymple [ND], Daugaard [SD]) and their legislatures, as part of the War On Women playbook to drastically curtail and/or end abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood, to name a few. 

Mississippi’s last women’s health clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could be closed down due to anti-choice extremist Governor Phil Bryant (R)’s wishes that "Mississippi should be an abortion-free state." If his plan successfully goes through, it would be the 1st state since the highly controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by SCOTUS to effectively ban abortion. 

Of the four states with only one women’s health service clinic (or abortion provider) left in their respective states, all except Arkansas currently has a GOP Governor running the state. All four of the states listed have both their state Houses and Senates under GOP control.

Full blogpost at Daily Kos