Speaking of religion skewing our sense of morality…
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 soon.
Yep. You read that right. Nine people charged with protecting our civil rights voted for a bill that makes it legal to kill doctors who perform a legal procedure. Vigilante Christian Justice. Only now it’s not gonna be vigilante. It’s legal. For Jesus.
Thankfully, the remaining sanity in the state has been pooled, pressure brought to bear, and there are stirrings and whisperings that the bill may be reworded or dropped entirely. Thank goodness for that. (And I mean… thank goodness. If it weren’t for people with well adjusted moral compasses, this kind of insanity might actually make it through!)
The thing is, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. It’s easy to call these folks stupid, but we believe it at our peril. The savvy religious zealot probably understands as well as I do the classic bargaining ploy: Ask for way too much at first, so that an unreasonable price seems reasonable by comparison. If this bill passes, even with rewording to make it ineffective as a justification for murder, it can still accomplish a purpose.
One suggested rewording went like this:
Where HB1171 says homicide is justifiable while resisting an attempt to harm a fetus “to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child,” Jensen could insert four words: “to a degree that is unlawful and likely to result…”
This wording change would end the legal defense of “killing in the name of,” but it would accomplish a far sneakier and more effective end — it would establish a precedence for personhood for fetuses. Even if there’s no practical effect, a law in the books granting implied personhood would be a boon to future lawmaking attempts to circumvent the right to abortion.
This bill needs to be dropped or utterly defeated. Anything else is a crime against doctors and women, not fetuses.