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17 February 2011

South Dakota to Legalize Murder of Abortion Doctors?

By Diana Hsieh

This news from South Dakota is just mind-boggling:

South Dakota's legislature is considering a bill that would legalize killing someone to prevent the harm of a fetus--a measure which could be used to defend people who kill abortion doctors. The legislation changes the legal definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killing a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" the killer's fetus, or the fetus of the killer's parent, child, spouse, or partner. That's even in cases when the pregnant person wants an abortion, Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard reports.

South Dakota legislators have tried repeatedly to outlaw abortion, but those bans were rejected by voters. So they've passed several laws to chip away at abortion rights, Sheppard reports. Women seeking an abortion have to listen to a lecture that they're terminating "the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," then wait 24 hours to get the medical procedure. And for 16 years, the state has had no abortion providers--Planned Parenthood flies in a doctor once a week to Sioux Falls.

This is not some wacky bill sponsored by a rogue legislator with no chance of passing it: the measure made it out of committee on a party-line vote. Republicans have huge majorities in both chambers: 70 to 19 in the House and 35 to 5 in the Senate. And many Democrats oppose abortion. The National Abortion Federation's president Vicki Saporta says the bill is not abstract, but "an invitation to murder abortion providers."
Go read the whole article.

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