South Dakota drops justifiable homicide-driven abortion bill

A gaggle of white-robed Caucasian men are bowing down to a plastic baby on black altar.

What we have here is a failure to communicate -- the definition of personhood. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Jay Cables/drive-by times)

The New York Times reports that South Dakota House speaker Val Rausch has announced that House Bill 1171 – the abortion-related bill many believe would create a legal loophole through which the assassination of abortion doctors could be considered justifiable homicide – has been indefinitely postponed. The risk the legislation could pose to abortion providers proved highly controversial.

South Dakota’s abortion bill ‘a very bad idea’

A spokesman for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard stated that as House Bill 1171 is currently written, it is “a very bad idea,” despite having been approved by a primarily Republican House Judiciary Committee with a 9 to 3 vote. The chance that it could expand the definition of justifiable homicide to killing anyone who aids in aborting a fetus could produce more blood than South Dakota could ever scrub off its hands.

Poorly conceived language that creates a theoretical loophole through which society’s fringe element could claim legal justification for assassinating abortion doctors was shunned by all but the most staunch anti-abortion activists in the South Dakota legislature, reports the Times. Dr. Marvin Buehner of Rapid City, S.D., was shaken by proposed House Bill 1171.

“Once you get the sense that the Legislature will tolerate violence against abortion providers, even if the legislation is not enacted, it crosses the line into intimidation,” he said.

House Bill 1171 even caused anti-abortion activist Troy Newman of Operation Rescue to recoil in horror:

“The pro-life movement, by definition, is in favor of protecting human life from the moment of conception to natural death, and we reject all forms of violence,” Newman said in a statement.

Equal protection under the law

South Dakota Republicans who remain unwavering in their support for House Bill 1171 claim the bill isn’t even an anti-abortion measure but legislation that would afford equal protection to unborn children under the law. However, as key players in the debate over when a person officially becomes a person like Sarah Stoesz of Planned Parenthood have noted, the intimidation factor toward abortion doctors is glaringly obvious.


South Dakota House Bill 1171

New York Times

On being justifiable

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