It’s a long winter in the plains states, and apparently the South Dakota legislature is getting a bit of cabin fever. There’s really no other explanation for some of the crazy bills it proposed this month.
On February 1, the state’s lawmakers proposed a bill that would require all residents over 21 to own a gun. Apparently a tongue-in-cheek effort to mock the reach of Obama’s healthcare bill, it should have been the most ridiculous bill tabled in the Mount Rushmore State legislature this month.
However, it’s safe to say this proposal, which seems to sanction the murder of abortion providers in South Dakota, tops it. And this time, they’re serious.
The bill made news Tuesday, when Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones reported that state Rep. Phil Jensen sought to expand the definition of justifiable homicide, excusing those who kill “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child.
Except in some truly wild scenarios, that means abortion providers.
However, Jensen wasn’t above pointing out those scenarios, insisting it wasn’t his intent to bring doctors into the mix:
Say an ex-boyfriend who happens to be father of a baby doesn’t want to pay child support for the next 18 years, and he beats on his ex-girlfriend’s abdomen in trying to abort her baby. If she did kill him, it would be justified. She is resisting an effort to murder her unborn child.
I suppose Jensen also unclogs his toilet with a grenade (or perhaps a state-mandated handgun), because if his intent was merely to protect women in those rare instances, he sure created the potential for serious collateral damage.
Obviously, not everyone is buying Jensen’s story. According to The New York Times:
Sarah Stoesz, president of the local Planned Parenthood chapter, said she also doubted the sponsors’ claims that the legislation was not intended to be an anti-abortion measure. “It’s a very clear shift in the conversation,” she said. “We have never had a public conversation about whether it’s right to kill a doctor.”
The legislature has since backed off, postponing further discussion of the bill. A spokesman for Gov. Dennis Daugaard told The Times, “Clearly the bill as it’s currently written is a very bad idea.”
No kidding. Since 1994, not a single abortion provider has lived in South Dakota, and four doctors now come in from out-of state once a week to provide service to the lone abortion clinic in Sioux Falls. They do so anonymously and with security—necessary precautions after the murder of several abortion providers since the 1990s and the open promotion of such slayings on the web. If the murders of abortion providers were to be perversely justified under such a law, would they even be able to safely come into the state at all?
Thankfully, it appears that the bill won’t pass, at least in its current iteration. However, it could still crop up again with amended language, as the state has a history of passing some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.