From Mother Jones, a stunning new assault on reproductive rights:
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.
South Dakota, home of the most draconian abortion laws in the U.S., now wants to make it legal to murder someone for performing a legal act. A move that a law professor at George Washington University calls "legally dubious."
"It takes my breath away," she says in an email to Mother Jones. "Constitutionally, a state cannot make it a crime to perform a constitutionally lawful act."
And yet, they are. Never mind that South Dakota voters have twice rejected abortion bans by wide margins, the extremists in that state are doing everything in their power to take away a woman's right to choose. Consider what women in South Dakota already have to do to obtain an abortion:
Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.
Before performing an abortion, a South Dakota doctor must offer the woman the opportunity to view a sonogram. And under a law passed in 2005, doctors are required to read a script meant to discourage women from proceeding with the abortion: "The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."
And there are more laws on the slate designed to make it even more difficult for women: extending the waiting period to 72 hours, require counseling "with the goal of discouraging women from having abortions," requiring doctors "to develop an analysis of 'risk factors associated with abortion,'" and now, giving a thumb's up to murdering the doctor. Says a health advocate:
They erect a legal barrier, another, and another. At what point do women say, 'I can't climb that mountain'? This is where we're getting to.
And justifying the murder of abortion providers is the highest mountain yet. Brought to you by the people who claim to value life.
For more discussion on this, see Something the Dog Said's diary.