South Dakota Might Make it Legal to Kill Abortion Providers

For two elections in a row, the South Dakota legislature has tried unsuccessfully to ban abortions. Even so, it came as a shock to learn that the state legislature is considering a bill that would legalize killing abortion providers. That’s right: legalize killing abortion providers. I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

House Bill 1171, sponsored by Republican Phil Jensen, would expand the definition of justifiable homicide to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus. But not just your own fetus; no, HB 1171 would allow anyone to kill in the name of protecting “the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child.” So in theory, if you’re a pregnant woman that wants an abortion but your husband disagrees, he could kill your abortion provider and have that be considered justifiable homicide.

Jensen claims that he merely wants to ensure that the state’s criminal code is operating with consistency in regards to how fetal death is punished. Currently, South Dakota – along with a number of other states – allows for people to be charged with murder or manslaughter for committing crimes that result in the death of a fetus. But there’s a massive difference between counting a pregnant woman’s murder as two crimes, and saying that it’s okay to commit murder in the name of a fetus. [Read more...]