South Dakota Legislature to Consider Bill to Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

From Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones:

A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state’s GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

The bill was originally introduced under false pretenses. Get this:

The original version of the bill did not include the language regarding the “unborn child”; it was pitched as a simple clarification of South Dakota’s justifiable homicide law. Last week, however, the bill was “hoghoused”—a term used in South Dakota for heavily amending legislation in committee—in a little-noticed hearing. A parade of right-wing groups—the Family Heritage Alliance, Concerned Women for America, the South Dakota branch of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, and a political action committee called Family Matters in South Dakota—all testified in favor of the amended version of the law.

Jensen, the bill’s sponsor, has said that he simply intends to bring “consistency” to South Dakota’s criminal code, which already allows prosecutors to charge people with manslaughter or murder for crimes that result in the death of fetuses. But there’s a difference between counting the murder of a pregnant woman as two crimes—which is permissible under law in many states—and making the protection of a fetus an affirmative defense against a murder charge.

This is unbelievable. There is lots more in Sheppard’s story, so please go read it. Could something like this really be constitutional? I doubt it, but with our current SCOTUS, who knows?


26 Comments on “South Dakota Legislature to Consider Bill to Legalize Killing Abortion Providers”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    And here is Rachel discussing what is happening in Ks:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908//vp/41591003#41591003

  2. madamab says:

    No, it is not Constitutional.

    Sara Rosenbaum, a law professor at George Washington University who frequently testifies before Congress about abortion legislation, says the bill is legally dubious. “It takes my breath away,” she says in an email to Mother Jones. “Constitutionally, a state cannot make it a crime to perform a constitutionally lawful act.”

    The “fetal personhood” movement is all about pushing the legal envelope so that Roe v. Wade can be contested and legally overturned. If the bills get passed, that’s fine, but they know they might lose the battle in the states. It’s in the service of winning the war to falsely declare that abortion is murder.

    This is where we are going in 2011 – to a place where the life of the mother is valued less than the potential life of the embryo inside her. The appalling, amoral ignorance and hatred of these movement anti-choicers is truly beyond my comprehension.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Actually, the life of the mother has always been irrelevant to these people. I’ve heard that stated straight out–once to my face by a “friend.”

      I know it isn’t constitutional, but what counts is the opinions of our current SCOTUS justices.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Justifiable Homicide, This is absolutely crazy and unbelievable that something like this is even brought up.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    There is indeed a “war on women” that is being instigated by Fundamentalist religionists, an authoritarian branch of the GOP, along with weak willed Dems who fear electoral defeat.

    As the MSM remains somewhat silent in the face of these loss of rights, cheering on other nations to proclaim their own rights for equality, here at home these rights are quietly being chiseled away.

    The futures of women, the elderly, and the sick are being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency and theocratical imposition.

    Without some form of “revolution” taking place here at home, these Draconian laws will go into effect with few whimpers coming from critcal thinkers who must see the insanity of these proposals.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      These religious zealots are the same people who scream about Muslims…just absurd.

    • Fannie says:

      One way they are thinking to make money is imprison more people, and they intend to go after women.

      They are going to spend billions for building new prisons, and get it ready for more women.

      Is this really America?

  4. TheRock says:

    This is all a joke from Comedy Central, right? The only explanation is that somebody is pulling our leg about this…..

    • bobbyoshea says:

      Someone is pulling your legs. But its motherjones. don’t read just one source. try using memeorandum.

      It’s legal to perform abortions. And this is why the Jensen bill wouldn’t legalize the killing of abortion doctors. It would legalize killing of abortion doctors if abortion became illegal in the state.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The law would make “justified homicide” a defense for killing an abortion doctor.

        Despite the fact that abortion is still legal, there are no abortion doctors in SD. There is only one clinic in ND. The same is true of quite a number of states.

        Abortion will still be “legal” after the health care law kicks in, but soon after that abortions will no longer be available at all because they won’t be covered by insurance.

        Maybe you should check some other sources?

      • dakinikat says:

        that’s still outrageous. You can kill a living breathing human being unless another living breathing human being feels their life is in danger. A fetus isn’t on the same level of existence no matter what all the religious kooks say.

  5. boogieman7167 says:

    thats just crazy any one that whould vote for this bill to pass has severe mental problems.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    From the Mother Jones article:

    South Dakota already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and one of the lowest abortion rates. Since 1994, there have been no providers in the state. Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.

    Before performing an abortion, a South Dakota doctor must offer the woman the opportunity to view a sonogram. And under a law passed in 2005, doctors are required to read a script meant to discourage women from proceeding with the abortion: “The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” Until recently, doctors also had to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she had “an existing relationship with that unborn human being” that was protected under the Constitution and state law and that abortion poses a “known medical risk” and “increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide.” In August 2009, a US District Court Judge threw out those portions of the script, finding them “untruthful and misleading.” The state has appealed the decision.

  7. Peggy Sue says:

    You can always bank on Republicans to overreach, that the truly crazy among them will come out of the shadows given the right climate. Obviously the weather suits them right now because they’re coming out in droves.

    Justifiable homicide to protect the unborn fetus, yet they’re quite willing to cut any and all programs to sustain and support fully realized lives be they children, women, the elderly, the disabled, the poor, etc., etc.

    Tell me how that makes sense? The craziness never ends.

  8. Pilgrim says:

    echoes of Uganda…..in South Dakota!!!

    • madamab says:

      Instead of “kill the gays” it’s “kill the women and those who dare to minister to their scary ladyparts.”

      I believe that all this prejudice and ignorant hatred comes from the same place: a desire to contol and suppress the Sacred Feminine. The fundiegelicals blame wimminz for feeding Adam the apple and gays for not being “manly” enough to take (I.e., control) women as sexual partners.

      I swear, it’s enough to make me want to paint giant v@gin@s on every megachurch in the country!

  9. paper doll says:

    and people are worried about The Brotherhood
    in Egypt? What’s this but jidad on abortion providers?

    The powers that be wish to destroy both political parties here and they are doing so. The crazies have been given free rein…plus right wring crazies make Obama seem better, even though he’s in position to do vastly more damage of course. Looking at the stock market, and the social slashing he’s doing , we have to worry the power elite will declare Obama:President for life. Who would stop it?

    and OT but imo, we are providing funds to the Brotherhood to become a party …we need extremists in Egypt, stat…otherwise it might be seen as really being about
    democracy and better standards of living! Heavens no!

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Here is something relative. Over in Britain:

    Mother’s legal plea to sterilise her daughter remains unresolved | Society | guardian.co.uk

    The mother of a young woman with learning difficulties who is pregnant with her second child broke down in tears as she pleaded with a high court judge to allow her daughter to be forcibly sterilised for her own protection.
    […]
    She told the judge that P “needs to be protected from her pregnancies”. She explained that she had taken P to a family planning clinic, but her daughter had refused a contraceptive injection at the last minute.

    Mrs P said: “We need something done. She fell pregnant with her second child quite quickly after her first and if it isn’t done, the thing that worries me is that she’ll fall pregnant again with her third.”

  11. foxyladi14 says:

    tragic and very sad

  12. foxyladi14 says:

    going back to the dark ages 👿