UPDATED: South Dakota moves to legalize the killing of abortion providers

February 18th, 2011: This has now been rescinded. See:

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
By Kate Sheppard

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.

Jensen did not return calls to his home or his office requesting comment on the bill, which is cosponsored by 22 other state representatives and four state senators. UPDATE: Jensen spoke to Mother Jones on Tuesday morning, after this story was published. He says that he disagrees with this interpretation of the bill. “This simply is to bring consistency to South Dakota statute as it relates to justifiable homicide,” said Jensen in an interview, repeating an argument he made in the committee hearing on the bill last week. “If you look at the code, these codes are dealing with illegal acts. Now, abortion is a legal act. So this has got nothing to do with abortion.” Jensen also aggressively defended the bill in an interview with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent on Tuesday morning. We have more on Jensen’s position here.

Read more.


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    February 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm

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  2. Jillian Barclay

    February 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    South Dakota legislator Phil Jensen is clearly in favor of promoting a theocracy based government. His religious beliefs are forming his political beliefs and actions. In a country that guarantees separation of church and state, Jensen could be considered our own American born extremist, pushing for the abolition of the most valued portions of our Constitution. Religious radicals of any persuasion are dangerous, imposing their wills on people who disagree with his religious beliefs. I am sure that he condemns extremists in Iran, yet he fails to realize that he is one with them…

    How dare he advocate for the murder of abortion providers and their staffs!

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