Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2011

CULTURE WAR IN SOUTH DAKOTA TAKES A RADICAL TURN.... A month into the new legislative session in South Dakota, Republican efforts have gone from odd to frightening with disconcerting speed.

Two weeks ago, one Republican lawmaker in the state had a very silly proposal to force residents to purchase firearms. Last week, GOP officials in the legislature launched a plan to make surrogacy arrangements for couples who can't have children a felony. (thanks to J.S. for the tip)

But Kate Sheppard reports today on just how far Republican culture warriors in South Dakota's legislature are willing to go.

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.

For all the ridiculous paranoia on the right about creeping "sharia law," here we see a Republican plan at the state level to make it legal to assassinate medical professionals as part of a larger culture war.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Off topic but wanted to share.An interview you will never see on Fox or Cnn. Very candid!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCPz2SzROFQ

Posted by: drinksforall on February 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Can we just give South Dakota entirely back to the Lakota Sioux? Contingent, of course, upon their commitment to expel all foreigners.

Posted by: SadOldVet on February 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

And those who have doubts about a Christian Taliban....visit South Dakota

Posted by: John R on February 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

If the language of the bill states "...intent to HARM a fetus", not KILL a fetus, this is not just sanctioning murder of abortion providers, but anyone who playfully pushes a pregnant woman, or anyone who provides her w/a soda or a cigarette.

If a pregnant woman falls down the stairs and is accused of trying to harm/abort her fetus, I can imagine the law requiring her to be tried after giving birth.

This is truly an ironic slippery slope to the sharia-type law these idiot non-American legislators do not comprehend.

Posted by: Deb on February 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

So... is it justifiable homicide to kill someone who is attempting to kill an abortion doctor? An "eye for an eye" makes the whole state dead.

Posted by: GP on February 15, 2011 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Abort South Dakota!

Posted by: Trollop on February 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Soon they'll pass a law that all fetus's must be armed - even if their arms haven't fully developed yet.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

re GP...

Obviously not! Killing someone who is attempting to kill an abortion doctor would obviously be first degree murder with malicious intent.

My social conservative brothers understand that, in an effort to protect the unborn children, preemptive elimination of all abortion doctors is preferred. They understand that intent to HARM a fetus is a reasonable standard to apply. Not so sure about killing someone for giving a pregnant woman a soda, but an alcoholic beverage or a cigarette should be definite grounds for dispatching the pervert to hell.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on February 15, 2011 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, too, that "Every Sperm is Sacred," and therefore South Dakota needs to make masturbation a capitol offense.

Posted by: DAY on February 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Does this bill, if it passes, not effectively legally codify that an unborn fetus is, in fact, a person?

OK, here's this taken to its logical conclusion. If that's the case, isn't a pregnant woman really two people?

And, logically, can that pregnant woman drive in a HOV-2 lane?

I'm not joking about this - its always been something that I've wondered. If a legislature codified the rights of a fetus as the same as a person, then all the rights apply, no?

Posted by: Dan on February 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Technically, rapists are sexual partners of women who might seek an abortion.

To protect his unborn child, I assume the South Dakota legislature would wholly endorse the rapist upping his game.

This, of course, assuming that the rape was "forcible". Please consult your local conservative right-to-life organization for further elaboration because I lack necessary clerical background.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Dan,

Can the fetus then be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, or being carried in its mother's lap rather than in a carseat?

Posted by: Fargus on February 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Former South Dakota fetus talking...

Even if anti-abortionists are, as they see themselves, comparable to the slavery abolition movement, surely there was never an attempt to legalize the murder of slave-owners.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

So jihads are OK if the jihadist is Christian and kills an abortion provider, which is blasphemy to a segment of the white Christian right.

Posted by: Carol on February 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

@ drinksforall

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: BetweenTheLines on February 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

This proposed law in South Dakota is only a partial solution to the problem of defending the unborn against abortion doctors.

Since all doctors may become abortion doctors and since all doctors may move to South Dakota or may perform abortions on women from South Dakota, it seems reasonable for South Dakota to pass a law requiring people from South Dakota to preemptively kill all doctors.

And, since all children born in South Dakota may become doctors, it seems reasonable for South Dakota to pass a law requiring the preemptive killing of all children upon their birth.

Posted by: TeaPartyConservative on February 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not so sure that the bill can be interpreted that way. The relevant section seems to me to be:

"Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished."

So there has to be a felony or "great personal injury" threatened. If the woman consents to an abortion, then neither of these would seem to apply.

Posted by: Robert the Red on February 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

OK, here's this taken to its logical conclusion. If that's the case, isn't a pregnant woman really two people?

And, logically, can that pregnant woman drive in a HOV-2 lane?
-----------------------------------------------
That happened here in Virginia. A woman contested a ticket for driving in an HOV lane claiming that her fetus counted as a person. The judge actually showed some common sense and dismissed the ticket without comment. (As in, he did not try to make law, just get the lady out of the courtroom).

Posted by: Wyrm1 on February 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Following the "logic" behind this bill, doctors would not be the only targets of family members. If a pregnant woman wants to abort theoretically the angered husband could kill the wife for her willingness to want the abortion.

We are seeing just what happens to a country when crazy white folks eliminate a relatively sane indigenous population and replace them with themselves. I guess if genocide is an acceptable form of murder, so then abortion is not such a huge leap.

I say arm them all and have at each other. If murder was good enough to be applied to native Americans, then who are we to complain. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

My philosophy that I'm passing on to all my nieces is Never ever have sex with a republican man. They treat women like animals, are rabid and have zero respect for anyone.

Posted by: Silver Owl on February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

@Grumpy: No, killing slave owners is not technically murder, but it does require a declaration of war first.

I suspect that the Teabaggers are in league with the Secessionists and the rest of the "states rights" crowd to have the WoNA declared genocide and bring charges against the Union for enabling the massacre.

Posted by: boatboy_srq on February 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

@boatboy

When are you all going to realize the Teabaggers are the secessionist. They are the 30% deadeners that support Bushit till the very end. They are the torture supports, the far right"base" who see nothing but hate and supremacy as their god. They are fueled by the Murdochs, Becks, PALINaroundwithterrorists, etc who are paid handsomely to spew the lies via corporate controlled media to these cretins who believe it hook/line/sinker. Period.

Posted by: stevio on February 15, 2011 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

So would it be justifiable homicide for an abortion provider to kill Rep. Phil Jensen and any other legislator who votes for HB 1171?

I hope so. Is that wrong of me?

Posted by: Joey Maloney on February 15, 2011 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

So there has to be a felony or "great personal injury" threatened. If the woman consents to an abortion, then neither of these would seem to apply.

Okay, well-intentioned but misses the point. The anti-abortion activists consider abortion to be murder, so the woman giving consent is irrelevant. A few of them would also consider her a murderer--but would killing a pregnant woman be a justifiable homicide and manslaughter at the same time? However, most anti-abortionists don't consider pregnant women fully competent adults--if they were competent, they would never want an abortion--and therefore not necessarily liable for criminal prosecution.

This is a law to support people who harass and attack abortion providers, right up to the point of assassinating them in front of their clinics.

Posted by: Midland on February 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Just curious...

Since South Dakota law would have everyone armed... One can assume the abortionist will be packin' heat.

In the event enraged pro-life father/boyfriend/ex-husband charges into the clinic, is it legal for the abortionist to fire in self-defense or is he more or less expected to accept his own murder since he should be well aware of his grave sin against Jesus?

Is the doctor allowed to evade his attacker? This might mean the attacker wings several nurses/assitants and maybe the mother. Do they have any legal recourse for poor marksmanship or are they screwed since we all know how worthy this particular holy execution effort was?

In the unlikely event that the holy warrior shoots the mother and causes the death of the fetus, is committing suicide now legal in the great Christian state of South Dakota?

The repercussions of encouraging the exercise of particular religions are FASCINATING! Legal observers in Islamic states must be simply enthralled with their jobs. The 1st amendment is SUCH a buzzkill.

South Dakota has exciting times ahead if the conservative Supreme Court fulfills the will of God as all good Christians see it.


Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

It all just raises the question. Who would Jesus kill?

Posted by: AK Liberal on February 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Re the surrogacy issue: this may be an attempt to keep gay (men) couples from having biological children since they would of course need a surrogate's womb (and egg, or a different woman's donor egg).

Posted by: Hmmmmm on February 15, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a doctor in South Dakota I would definitely leave the state if this nutjob bill passes, even if I didn't perform abortions personally. Even if it doesn't pass I'd still seriously consider moving out given the current level of insanity there. It's just not worth the risk.

It would be rough on the people who wouldn't have the access to a doctor's services they're used to but if they're going to elect these murderous cretins they'll have to accept the consequences.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on February 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

One wonders how many women will claim "defense of my unborn baby", when they come up on charges of killing their husbands. "The SOB pushed me, your Honor".

Posted by: exlibra on February 15, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

The language of the law provides exceptions for legal activities such as abortion, but the intent of the law is to threaten legal abortion providers by saying "we're going to tell all the wackos out there that it's legal to kill abortionists. You know it ain't true and we know it aln't true, but they won't."

Posted by: MikeN on February 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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