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The Republican's continuing Assault on women's rights

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Republicans in South Dakota sponsored a bill that made it out of committee. They claim that it does not legalize the murder of abortion doctors, though the actual text of the bill is ambiguous. Here is the text. Section 2 is the important one:

Click here for text of the bill.

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

Section 1. That § 22-16-34 be amended to read as follows:

22-16-34. 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.

Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:

22-16-35. 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.

Section 1: this section allows a woman to kill someone who is trying to harm her fetus. The tiny bill is silent about the legality of such an attempt. Typical of anti-choice advocates to keep it ambiguous.

Section 2 is the problematic one. A husband can murder someone who is trying to harm his wife's fetus. In this section, it is dangerous to leave out an absolutely unambiguous qualification, saying that this does not apply to women undergoing voluntary abortions. It is a short bill, so it is safe to presume this was left out on purpose by the anti-choice, statist Republicans.

Some such relative who kills an abortion doctor could try to claim protection under section 2, and a court would have to make a ruling. That is dangerous.

This type of legislation is one variant of the type that Rand Paul supports. He has said that he supports a "sanctity of life" amendment. If Rand Paul thinks that a bunch of cells is a person right after conception, then it would stand to reason that one might be justified in killing a doctor who is going to perform one. That's the Rand Paul lunacy taken to its logical conclusion.

Of course, the sponsors of the bill are all Republican (well almost).

Phil Jensen (Republican)

Jim Bolin (Republican)

Thomas Brunner (Republican)

Brock Greenfield (Republican)

Jenna Haggar (Independent) ... seems she was a lobbyist to Republican "Right to Life"

Jon Hansen (Republican)

Steve Hickey (Republican)

Lora Hubbel (Republican)

Don Kopp (Republican)

Melissa Magstadt (Republican)

Patty Miller (Republican)

Stace Nelson (Republican)

Betty Olson (Republican)

Val Rausch (Republican)

Lance Russell (Republican)

Jacqueline Sly (Republican)

Manny Steele (Republican)

Patricia Stricherz(Republican)

Edward van Gerpen (Republican)

Mark E. Venner (Republican)

Mike Verchio (Republican)

Mark Willadsen (Republican)

Senator Elizabeth Kraus (Republican)

Senator Art Fryslie (Republican)

Senator Dan Lederman (Republican)

Senator Ryan Maher (Republican)

Edited by softwareNerd
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I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Abortions were taboo and the taboo slowly went away, as society turned to rationality and reduced the number of religious injunctions they were willing to follow. Ever since the 1980's, this changed, as Ronald Reagan wooed christian nut-jobs for the Republican party. Abortion is not very controversial in most countries that have accepted a rational ('western") world view following the Renaissance, and it ought not to be in the U.S. if not for people who are very serious about their worship of this guy.

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This seems to be a bill to protect an individual who would use deadly force in the defense of an innocent against death or severe bodily injury, with the caveat that threatening the life of a pregnant woman's' child is held to be as great a threat as threatening the life of an adult or child that has already been born. I see no way that this could be used as some sort of defense by someone who would murder an abortionist. No judge or jury in their right mind would accept such a defense as viable. I think you are reading something into this bill that is not intended.

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This seems to be a bill to protect an individual who would use deadly force in the defense of an innocent against death or severe bodily injury, with the caveat that threatening the life of a pregnant woman's' child is held to be as great a threat as threatening the life of an adult or child that has already been born. I see no way that this could be used as some sort of defense by someone who would murder an abortionist. No judge or jury in their right mind would accept such a defense as viable. I think you are reading something into this bill that is not intended.

If the point were anything else, the bill wouldn't be necessary.

I'm pretty sure killing someone who is trying to kill your wife falls under self defense already.

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Part 1 "Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to . . ." If somebody is consenting to an abortion, this shouldn't be an issue here, they aren't resisting. You don't have grounds to shoot them for doing something you are consenting to.

Part 2 ". . . 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 . . ." Abortion isn't a felony and if somebody is consenting to an abortion it isn't going to result in *personal* injury to the enumerated person, and saying it is injury to the fetus doesn't fly because it says it is about the pregnant person, not the fetus. If the pregnant person isn't bothered by it, it isn't personal injury.

Basically, the idea is you won't get in trouble if in the course of fending off an act of force that would endanger somebody's fetus you end up killing that would be criminal. I think there may be a little jumping the gun here thinking this legalizes killing people who are performing voluntary abortions.

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Judging by the text posted at the top, it sure does not seem like this is giving authority to kill abortion doctors unless they were performing an abortion against the patients will. I can't envision when a circumstance like this would come up, but it seems to be what the bill is saying. People seem to be overreacting without actually reading what is in the bill. Correct me if my interpretation is incorrect.

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Judging by the text posted at the top, it sure does not seem like this is giving authority to kill abortion doctors unless they were performing an abortion against the patients will. I can't envision when a circumstance like this would come up, but it seems to be what the bill is saying. People seem to be overreacting without actually reading what is in the bill. Correct me if my interpretation is incorrect.
Well take Section 2 as it is today, without the underlined changes. It can clearly be read to allow a father to kill someone who is going to harm his child. Now, add in the clarification that this covers an unborn child. Clearly, the father can now kill someone who is going to harm his unborn child. Nothing in that section says that such harm must be illegal. This is not an oversight, because this bill has been debated in committee and Democrats raised this objection. The Republicans could easily have added simple clarifying language. In fact, according to ABC News 'South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley told Jensen that he might want to consider adding the words "that is unlawful and" after the words "to a degree."

Overreacting? Well, yes and no. After failing at more radical attempts, anti-choice groups have adopted an explicit strategy of making small moves on abortion: by slowing firming up various laws to treat a fetus more and more like a person, or to make special laws to restrict what minor pregnant girls may do, or to make laws that restrict the freedom of clinics under the pretext of health and safety. This is their slow-boiled frog approach. The pro-choice groups realize this. Of course this bill is not going to create a rash of killings because South Dakota has managed to throttle back things so that people mostly go out of state for abortions: in other words there are hardly any South Dakotan doctors to be killed anyway. On the other hand, pro-choice advocates realize that this bill is simply one more small step in a larger plan to deprive women of their right to an abortion. So, that explains their attempts to stop each small step: it is the right thing to do.

This seems to be a bill to protect an individual who would use deadly force in the defense of an innocent against death or severe bodily injury, with the caveat that threatening the life of a pregnant woman's' child is held to be as great a threat as threatening the life of an adult or child that has already been born. I see no way that this could be used as some sort of defense by someone who would murder an abortionist. No judge or jury in their right mind would accept such a defense as viable. I think you are reading something into this bill that is not intended.

What really matters is for intent to be expressed in the words of the law, for instance using language that the S.D. attorney general has suggested.

Edited by softwareNerd
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You know, I'm not actually really bothered by the idea of not throwing somebody in jail for killing some attacker in the course of defending a pregnancy. I just think it is defending the pregnant person's rights though to not have what is currently her property destroyed, not some supposed fetus rights or necessarily looking at a fetus as a person.

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You know, I'm not actually really bothered by the idea of not throwing somebody in jail for killing some attacker in the course of defending a pregnancy. I just think it is defending the pregnant person's rights though to not have what is currently her property destroyed, not some supposed fetus rights or necessarily looking at a fetus as a person.
Sure, but writing legislation that makes this clear is not rocket science. This bill is so tiny that it is hard to get it wrong. Also, this bill has been discussed in committee. So, the Republicans are well aware of the ambiguities.

Now that various pro-choice sites have created a stink, the Republicans will probably change the wording, but they had a chance to do so before this and chose not to. Better not to have any bill at all than to fall for such tricks.

This is how they work. A similar example is the Republican attempt to hinder minor girls from getting abortions. There is no need to give in to these little incremental pushes just because they seem fine in isolation. If the Republicans want these reasonable changes, let them enact them within a context of making abortions legal. Anything else is simply poor negotiation: giving them something while getting nothing in return.

They're boiling the frog slowly.

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This seems to be a bill to protect an individual who would use deadly force in the defense of an innocent against death or severe bodily injury, with the caveat that threatening the life of a pregnant woman's' child is held to be as great a threat as threatening the life of an adult or child that has already been born. I see no way that this could be used as some sort of defense by someone who would murder an abortionist. No judge or jury in their right mind would accept such a defense as viable. I think you are reading something into this bill that is not intended.

I agree with Maximus that the above seems to be the intent of the law.

However I also agree with SWN that many will want this to be interpreted in a way that increases the pro-life lobbies foothold.

The law would be fine if it was much more specific.

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I'm pretty sure a viable, eight month old baby is a human being.

More or less, but If this was a yes/no to abortion thread I would argue that it still doesn't have rights superseding those of the mother. If the bill said punching an

eight-months-pregnant woman in the stomach is cause for justifiable homicide I would agree, but it isn't clear that that's what they're trying to say.

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Now, Republicans at the Federal level are continuing their fight against abortion by targeting Planned Parenthood (PP). The "Pence amendment" says that PP may not get any of the money that the Feds dole out for certain women's health programs. This is not abortion-funding. This is money that goes to various organizations that provide services to low-income women. This is not an amendment that is designed to cut the overall levels of such funding. It specifically disallows PP and its affiliates from being a provider under the government-funded schemes. Clearly, the bill targets PP because of other things it is involved in. In terms of principle, it is no different from the government saying that only Christian hospitals may dole out government-funded health-care. It violates the separation of Church and State.

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Now, Republicans at the Federal level are continuing their fight against abortion by targeting Planned Parenthood (PP). The "Pence amendment" says that PP may not get any of the money that the Feds dole out for certain women's health programs. This is not abortion-funding. This is money that goes to various organizations that provide services to low-income women. This is not an amendment that is designed to cut the overall levels of such funding. It specifically disallows PP and its affiliates from being a provider under the government-funded schemes. Clearly, the bill targets PP because of other things it is involved in. In terms of principle, it is no different from the government saying that only Christian hospitals may dole out government-funded health-care. It violates the separation of Church and State.

While their reasons for such targeted action may be wrong that doesn't negate that fact that Planned Parenthood is still funded by the government, which is not allowed by the Constitution, and is done through the use of force on involuntary members of the society, no? But perhaps what you are suggesting is that this should be one of the last things to go in a hypothetical mass deregulation?

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While their reasons for such targeted action may be wrong that doesn't negate that fact that Planned Parenthood is still funded by the government, which is not allowed by the Constitution, and is done through the use of force on involuntary members of the society, no? But perhaps what you are suggesting is that this should be one of the last things to go in a hypothetical mass deregulation?
I do think cutting this spending is not a priority. However, my stronger objection is that the law (not unspoken intent of the legislators) breaks the wall between state and church. The bill (at least when I read it) named Planned parenthood. It did not say that the government will remove funding for abortions. None of the funding involved is for abortions anyway. Nor did it say that the government will reduce non-abortion women's healthcare services provided via third-parties. Instead, it stops such non-abortion health-care payments if the third party is planned parenthood.

It is like the government saying they will not give medicaid to anyone who skips church on Sunday.

Edited by softwareNerd
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I know I am not the one you are talking to, CS, but I would imagine it should go at about the same time as all other government funding for medical care.

On the other hand there is something to be said for targets of opportunity. The chance exists to end this particular program now, so take it. (Of course it will be undone the next time the pendulum swings towards the democrats.)

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"Georgia anti-abortion bill would require investigations of miscarriages" by Eric W. Dolan;Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Another ambitious attempt to topple Roe v. Wade and impose an extreme form of Christianity upon others. This is democracy at work; the Ayatollah would be proud.

Soon, California, Oregon and Hawaii will be the only states with minimal violation of rights in this arena.

Edited by softwareNerd
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The Republicans are at it again, this time in Virginia. Using a tactic that has been used in other southern states, they want abortion clinics to abide by various hospital guidelines, thereby forcing many of them to shut down.

Of course in doing so, the Republicans are confirming the premise that the government has the right to regulate around the area of healthcare (Obama care is the next step, but they cannot see it in their pragmatism). A dishonest bill from a dishonest party.

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Abortion is not very controversial in most countries that have accepted a rational ('western") world view following the Renaissance, and it ought not to be in the U.S. if not for people who are very serious about their worship of this guy.

I wouldn't be so comfortable about abortion remaining "not very controversial" in Western countries: in those countries, there remains a significant difference between the non-Muslim and Muslim birthrates. Islam opposes abortion -- so you can expect that as they assume majority status (which they will in some European countries in 20-30 years), abortion will be severly curtailed.

Also, surveys show that the American population continues to become more anti-abortion, especially in the younger age groups (Gallup, May 2010).

I think the subject will become more controversial in the coming years, not less.

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