Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Is South Dakota set to legalise the murder of abortion providers?

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

In a shocking story on its website, Mother Jones magazine reports that the US state of South Dakota, where abortion is already subject to some of the most severe restrictions in America, could be set to legalise the murder of people involved in the provision of abortion services.

A bill is under consideration by South Dakota's legislature, sponsored by the Republican representative Phil Jensen, a well-known opponent of abortion rights, which would amend existing legislation to include killing someone "while resisting an attempt to harm" an unborn child within the definition of "justifiable homicide", in cases where the unborn child is your own, or that of a spouse, partner, parent or child.

As Mother Jones reports, Jensen claims that the legislation is designed to bring "consistency" to the state's justifiable homicide laws (it is common for US states to consider the murder of a pregnant woman to be two crimes), but advocates of abortion rights say that it amounts to a legalisation of the killing of abortion doctors, with Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation telling the magazine, "The bill is an invitation to murder abortion providers".

I recommend reading the full piece over at Mother Jones – in addition to bringing you up to speed on the justifiable homicide proposal, it provides an insight into the difficulties faced by women seeking terminations in US states with restrictive abortion regulations. Choice is a fragile right and, as South Dakota shows, it is under constant threat from the anti-abortion lobby.
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