New law in South Dakota would make murdering an abortion Doctor a form of justifiable homicide in defense of the life of the fetus.
22 State Senators and Representatives in South Dakota have co-sponsored a bill that would change murdering an abortion Doctor to “justifiable homicide” if you are a relative of the woman having an abortion. This would apply even when the woman is seeking out the abortion entirely on her own.
A Mother Jones story explains that the language allows anyone seeking to “resist an attempt to harm” an unborn child would be considered justifiable homicide if the Doctor involved gets killed. Local abortion rights advocates note that this is equivalent to declaring open season on abortion Doctors within the state. In the last 18 years, there have been 8 fatal attacks on abortion providers and 17 others have been injured, so this is not idle speculation.
Those opposed to abortion have made a habit of demonizing abortion providers throughout the nation. Bill O’Reilly singled out Dr. Tiller for special attention, featuring him in numerous commentaries and described him as “Tiller the baby killer.” It was no particular surprise when Dr. Tiller was assassinated, studies point to a connection between vitriolic speech and violent crimes.
The State Senator who proposed the bill, Phil Jensen, was originally pitched as a simple “clarification” to state law which allows charges of manslaughter to be filed if a crime results in the death of a fetus. Needless to say, this is a far cry from lowering the penalties to murdering an abortion provider. In a legal abortion, there is no “crime” being committed according to current laws.
South Dakota already has some of the strictest abortion laws on the books. This legislation would go far beyond any other law on the books regarding abortion in the US. The implication of the law is that a fetus is a life to be defended with deadly force if necessary. The anti-abortion foes are already demonizing abortion providers, this would give that demonization legitimacy.