Now, unfortunately, South Dakota is back at it- this time with a proposed law that would permit homicide against doctors performing abortions...on the grounds of defense. You read that right. The text of the bill, HB 1171, states that
Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.Again, you read that correctly. Someone who murders a doctor performing an abortion, under this law, could legitimately claim "defense of the unborn" in the same way one could claim self-defense in other circumstances.
I'll repeat here what I've said before in this blog: I'm wholeheartedly in favour of abortion rights. I also understand that not everyone is. The utter wrongness of South Dakota's proposed law, however, isn't whether or not it favours abortion rights. It's that it favours- no, scratch that- legalizes the murder of a person who is performing an important and, in many ways life-saving, procedure. Theoretically, someone could extend the law to protect themselves if they murder the person who is pregnant and requests the abortion- after all, they're technically attempting "to harm the unborn child" by seeking the procedure. Could such a loophole, if the law passes, lead to the acceptance of vigilantes who believe it's acceptable to murder a person to punish them for an attempted abortion?
Regardless if the law would be extended to cover such instances...we need to act to discourage its passage.