What Fresh Hell is This?

Republicans have unleashed a war against public servants and women.  They appear to believe their election gains are a mandate to radically change the way government deals with its citizen.  The latest state to initiate yet another crazy attack on women’s health is the state of Nebraska. Nebraska has followed South Dakota’s lead by introducing a “justifiable homicide” abortion bill.  This bill goes farther than the South Dakota law. (See the  sentence in bold below from the quote from a Mother Jones blog post.)

The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who is opposed to the procedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit “justifiable homicide” in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.

“In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that’s something that’s unprecedented in our society,” Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood’s patients and personnel. Also testifying in opposition to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, “We share the same fears…that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers.”

Baker’s concern is well-grounded: Abortion providers are frequent targets of violent attacks. Eight doctors have been murdered by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, and another 17 have been victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes, including Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita, Kansas, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, have attempted to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials. Several of the witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing cited Tiller’s murder as a case where a law like the one Christensen introduced could have come into play.

This one hits home for me.  Nebraska–where I grew up–always turns out to be one of the states to test abortion restrictions. Their taxpayers pay millions of dollars to take outrageous bills to the Supreme Court just to see how much they can get away with.  I can’t tell you how many of these initiatives I had to deal with while living there.  It’s a horrible use of scare public revenues. I believe this was introduced to just test the waters since the South Dakota bill was withdrawn.  These zealots are willing to waste taxpayer dollars just to see how far they can go.

The other thing that really bothers me  is that my daughter is an ob/gyn in residency at the state’s med school.  Considering many of these people think that birth control pills are abortifacients, does this mean you can justifiably shoot a prescribing doctor?   This bill is just to let women protect their pregnancies if you listen anti-abortion fanatics.  However,  isn’t just being able to defend yourself as a pregnant woman enough?

For his part, Christensen insisted that his measure is not intended to target abortion providers. Like Jensen, Christensen claimed that his bill is merely meant to allow pregnant women to defend their unborn children without fear of prosecution. “LB 232,” he said, “is really nothing more than an attempt to make sure a pregnant woman is not unnecessarily charged with a crime for using force to protect her unborn child from someone who means to bring harm to her unborn children.”

But, as other lawmakers pointed out during the hearing, Christensen’s bill, as currently written, would not only apply to pregnant women but to anyone who attempted to prevent harm to a fetus. “I think it opens the door to something unintended,” said state Sen. Steve Lathrop. “I don’t think you came in here intending to make those who provide abortions a target of the use of force,” he told Christensen, “but I think it may unintentionally do that or at least provide somebody with an argument that they were justified in that.”

Nebraska isn’t the only state trying this tactic.  The state of Iowa is also trying to get bills passed that allow deadly force to protect a fetus.

If passed into law, the two bills — House File 7 and House File 153 — would offer an unprecedented defense opportunity to individuals who stand accused of killing such providers, according to a former prosecutor and law professor at the University of Kansas, and are something that might have very well led to a different outcome in the Kansas trial of the man who shot Dr. George Tiller in a church foyer.

Melanie D. Wilson, associate professor of law at the University of Kansas, closely followed the trial of Scott Roeder, the man convicted of murdering Tiller. Roeder, at the urging of Iowa anti-abortion activist and former GOP legislative candidate Dave Leach, attempted to use the necessity defense, which says it is permissible to commit a crime if it stops a greater harm. The judge in the case refused to allow Roeder to use that defense.

“When [Roeder] presented the necessity defense, he failed because the legislature had basically already decided the abortion issue,” Wilson said. “So, as long as Tiller was performing legal abortion, [Roeder], as a defendant, didn’t get to re-decide the case [of abortion’s legal status]. Just as a matter of law, the judge wouldn’t allow that argument.”

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

I really don’t see any difference between these people and the Taliban. Being forced to live in country where extremist fundamentalist views dictate laws is not what this country is about.  These people obviously don’t think that women are capable of making mature, moral decisions and must be shepherded through a humiliating, obtuse process just to exercise a right to be secure as a unique person.  Again, this is nothing less than an out and out war on every woman.  We should not have to beg for our constitutional rights and our standing as adults.


31 Comments on “What Fresh Hell is This?”

  1. My Stupakistan tis of thee
    sweet land of misogyny of thee I sing
    land where our foremothers tried
    land where our civil rights are denied

  2. bostonboomer says:

    It just never ends, does it?

  3. Peggy Sue says:

    This is the ‘Christian Taliban’ on the march. Yes, I know that term brings out the howls but the Repug Far Right-wingers have earned the title.

    There’s also legislation introduced in Georgia, declaring the ‘personhood’ of the fetus and any harm befalling said fetus will be considered murder. This makes any and all miscarriage suspicious, worthy of investigation.

    The irony is delicious because once you’re born into the world these same Crusaders wouldn’t offer you a cup of coffee. But as long as your half-formed, incapable of sustaining yourself in the world [or talk back], you have a friend, a roaring champion.

    I think this is what the Repugs want more than anything: that we all remain in a fetus-like condition, lodged in the womb forever, so we don’t make waves.

    Paradise!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Georgia also wants to push through a “Human Life” amendment. Georgia General Assembly – HR 536

      I live in GA, and I have seen these hypocritical asses first hand.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I wonder if women will be considered “human life” under that amendment?

        BTW, how are you feeling today? I hope your headache is better.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Much better! Thanks for asking BB…As far as if women are considered human life? These bills are written by men who don’t think much about women anyway, so my guess is No. Women won’t be protected for their human lives, cause these religious idiots don’t give a damn.

  4. cwaltz says:

    I’ve been calling some of these people the Christian version of the Taliban for awhile. They apparently believe God screwed up when He/She gave us free will and seem at loathe to recognize the concept that is actually taught in the New Testament, you know the whole entire “forgiveness” thing(unless of course you’re a white male who cheats on your aging spouse.)

  5. paper doll says:

    I wish they were as passionate about child care or food stamps…or clean air…gee, wouldn’t that be nice?

    But nope. Rome is burning so of course a plague of the stupids break out

    • cwaltz says:

      They’re not stupid. This is a diversion for the working class while the rich pillage.

      • paper doll says:

        Well certainly those footing the bills and their media are doing it for that reason, indeed…much as pick pockets work the crowd at a Punch and Judy puppet show…but many do it just for the sheer love of it.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Members of a disability rights group are occupying Republican Party HQ in Madison, Wis., vowing to stay until Gov. Walker removes Medicaid provisions in his budget bill.

    This is really starting to feel like the ’60s again.

  7. Owen says:

    Ummm, uh, isn’t it justifiable homicide for a woman to defend herself, pregnant or not?

    what’s the point of making a law to protect feti????? the mother can fight anyway…..

    • Sima says:

      That’s what I was wondering. I mean, who plans to assassinate a fetus, unless of course, that’s how one views abortion.

      It’s not like the pregnant woman needs protection from HERSELF if she wants an abortion. But, that’s how these types look at it, I guess. And if this is another law to add on to murder laws if a pregnant woman is murdered, then write it like that. I think CA has one like that.

  8. grayslady says:

    The other day, a commenter at FDL used the term “forced birth” advocates, rather than “anti-choice”. I propose that all men and women who care about a woman’s ability to make private choices about her private life begin using this term. To me, it captures the essence of what the opposition is attempting to perpetrate.

    • dakinikat says:

      Some times it’s not just forced birth it’s forced death.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Dak, did your daughter have any classes while in Med School about ethics and abortion? Just curious…

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I guess I didn’t word my question right. I am wondering if med schools or students becoming pharmacist have taken ethics courses re: choosing not to perform abortions or filling morning after pills. It seems that this sort of denial of care would be something up for discussion among the students, especially with the building attitude of these religious right politicians.

  9. Sima says:

    I got an email from planned parenthood. If any of you haven’t participated in this email blast, give it a go. They are emailing everyone who supported the bill. Not just constituents, but all of us are emailing all of them…

    http://www.ppaction.org/site/R?i=1ZciIgH6qO5Llm0f8qmspw..

    Check to see if your congress person supported or voted against the bill. Mine voted against, in fact, he’s voted ‘correctly’ almost all the time. I’m in wuv.

    This link’ll show you how she/he voted.
    http://www.ppaction.org/site/R?i=w3MUOGYk-2kcLGQsuQt__Q..

    And they want us to share stories about how Planned Parenthood has helped us or our loved ones: Here’s the link:

    http://www.ppaction.org/site/R?i=_39I1zFWyIOCfzmNQeIC6w..

  10. The good news is that Federal law always supercedes state law. US Code Title 18 Part I Chapter 51 defines homicide and manslaughter. If anyone kills an abortion provider, the federal government can go after the culprit.

    At the very least, the killer can be tried for civil rights violations. And a killer can also be held accountable in a civil action, as a fella named Simpson once found out.

    So I don’t think it will be open season.

    Still, you’re right — what is happening is brutish and loathsome.