Listening to South Dakota legislators pontificate on the issues of the day can be puzzling, comical, and frustrating. The words of a local legislator, to be named at the end of this commentary, make the point.

On the proposal to ban texting while driving, this legislator is quoted in the Argus Leader as saying:

There's other ways to influence our culture, to teach people that texting while driving is not socially accepted. It doesn't always have to be through the passage of a law.

My interpretation of his statement is this: Passing laws is not always the best way to affect behavior in our citizens. Education can do wonders.

His next statement is testimony on the doubling of the waiting period for women seeking abortions. He is the prime sponsor of this law. This is his rationale for requiring more time: the law needs to be changed to make sure women have time (my emphasis) to consult with pregnancy help centers.

Again from the Argus Leader:

We want to ensure that a pregnancy help center can be adequately and properly staffed on a regular basis to help these pregnant mothers.

Here is my interpretation of this statement: The current waiting period is not long enough because pregnancy help centers only operate Monday thru Friday. We can't expect those places to have staff available on week-ends, like hospitals, most crisis centers and helplines, the Children's Inn, and the Compass Center, to name a few.

He has introduced this bill for the convenience of people who don't want to be "inconvenienced by a stressed pregnant person" on a weekend.

Now to tie this into bow:

This elected official thinks we should stay out of the direct regulation of texting while driving, because there are more enlightened ways to adjust people's choices.

However, when it comes to the ability of women to make choices about their specific situation, they are not smart, or enlightened enough to know what to do without the "long arm" of state law requiring them to counsel with a complete stranger under while under duress. And by the way don't bother those counselors over the weekend. Hold your stress until I chose to be available.

Duplicity. Hypocrisy. Patronizing. Condescending.

The legislator who was quoted above is: Representative John Hansen, a Republican of Dell Rapids.