Is South Dakota considering legalizing the killing of abortion providers?

I was reading this article:

I followed the link to the text of the bill itself but while it does not read (to me) that any schmo can run and kill and abortion doctor I admit it seems to come close enough. But then IANAL so figure I’ll ask the Legal Eagles here to help parse it for us (the text of the bill is very short).

For debate will this pass constitutional muster if it is passed?

This is a joke, right?

You post a link to an incredibly inflammatory article [sub]from Mother Jones[/sub] with a title like this and expect it to be taken seriously?

It is as much an incitement to murder as Castle Doctrine laws, which is to say that it isn’t at all. Leave it to Mother Jones to take the most absurd possible interpretation and run with it. Then again, they’re notorious for sensationalizing things and getting their readership fired up.

Reuters News:

South Dakota House Bill 1171:

Perhaps the debate should be centered around if a reasonable person would interpret the proposed legislation as the Mother Jones’ article indicates, using the actual proposed law as primary reference.

I’m reasonable. I see no reference in the bill that takes into account the wishes of the pregnant woman. Why the omission, I wonder? Perhaps Airman can explain it to me.

I think the straight-on interpretation is that if someone wants to kill your unborn baby in a criminal way (an abortion is not crime in the US) you can use self-defense as an legal excuse.
It mentions family members.

As has been pointed out countless times in previous threads and countless court cases, abortion is not murder. Therefore, legally, an abortion provider is not murdering anybody. The distinction is that someone who goes to an abortion provider wants to get an abortion, whereas someone who does not intends to carry the child to term, therefore someone who kills the fetus in that case is murdering a person.

It’s hair splitting, but that’s what laws are all about.

But the law is not restricted to allow the killing of those who attempt to murder fetuses. There’s an OR in there:

Abortion is unquestionably an attempt to “harm the unborn child … in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child”, that is it’s entire goal. This law means that if a woman were to get pregnant as a result of being raped by her estranged husband, and she (understandably) attempted to have an abortion, he could legally kill her abortion provider. It’s as plain as that.

It is?

  1. Must state laws comport with federal constitutional rights?

  2. Must conflicting laws be read in pari materia?

  3. How would a court interpret the law?

Being raped, eh? That was important to the hypothetical, how exactly? How about this: A father beats and rapes his twelve-year-old daughter, impregnating her, tortures her for weeks, till she finally escapes and (understandably) runs to the nearest clinic–but he follows her there then kills the abortion provider! Come on, now! Who the hell would support such a scenario? South Dakota, I’m keeping an eye on you.

I think the part that Ají was looking at was the one about “reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony.” That is, the attempt to kill or harm the fetus only justifies a homicidal response when the former would constitute a felony. So if I’m reading that right, such a law would not legalize the killing of abortionists… subject to revisions in the abortion law.

But most homicide laws list an exception for killing a foetus if it’s performed as a medical procedure. This proposed law does not mention any such exception.

I don’t think this is some subtle attempt to make it legal to murder abortionists. South Dakota’s legal code presumedly has other sections that restrict self-defense to situations where no other reasonable alternative is possible.

This looks more like an attempt to enact a symbolic law that will have no legal meaning but will make pro-life people happy. Sloppy law-making though.

By the way, is this result compelled under 16-34 or 16-35?

“I had a good faith belief that Mr. Victim was an abortion provider your honor. I’m sorry I was mistaken in fact.” This is going to turn into open season on all pro-choice persons.

The supporters of the bill believe that it would give them the right to kill abortion providers, and I see absolutely nothing in that bill that would limit it to the unlawful taking of life.

Sorry about the inflammatory cited article. I should have done what Duckster did but it has been done so good enough for me.

I also asked that the Legal Eagles here help parse the law for us to see if it said what as being claimed.

As for Castle Doctrine laws not inviting people to murder I submit Joe Horn.

That said I am not sure you can draw an equivalence here. We already have many instances of people killing abortion doctors when it is flat out illegal, full-on murder. Nevertheless the people killing the abortion doctors see it as justifiable homicide. Now South Dakota wants to make it a bit more justifiable. You seriously doubt there isn’t another Roeder out there who would be emboldened by such a law?

This bill seems to indicate abortion would have to be ‘legalized murder’ by defining a unborn child as capable of being murdered and thus defining the unborn child as a member of humanity.

Can someone explain to me how the law is supposed to work in the real world?

I mean, how is it you attack a woman to terminate her pregnancy without attacking her sufficiently that existing self-defense laws would not suffice? Is there an instance anyone can dream up where bystanders would see a woman being attacked and suppose, “Well, he’s just trying to kill the fetus so I can’t use lethal force…if only there were a law that allowed me to help her.”

Honestly more than abortion doctors I think this will open a nice door for women to kill their significant others. When the police show to a domestic dispute the pregnant woman only has to point to her black eye and say she thought the baby was in danger so she shot the guy.

Isn’t that already the case?

I could be wrong but I thought if I did something to harm a woman (say I gut-punched her) and she miscarries then I am on the hook for murder.

(Never been clear on how that works)

In fairness, I can see where the bill could be read in such a way that some of the rabid abortion protester types might believe it’s declaring open season on abortion providers. I don’t think the bill actually does that, and I do not believe any Court would construe it that way, but inartful drafting on a known hot button issue is just soooooo


It’s irrelevant what they think. Murder is against the law, and there are ample precedents that demonstrate that abortion, legally speaking, is not murder, so there can be no legally justifiable way to claim that the murder of an abortion doctor or provider is acceptable.