Just when you thought it was safe again – the South Dakota legislature shelved the “justifiable homicide” bill and all was going to be well. Republicans to the south have decided to go a step further by introducing a bill, if passed, would allow any third party to protect the a fetus from any harm.
“In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that’s something that’s unprecedented in our society,” Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood’s patients and personnel. Also testifying in opposition to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, “We share the same fears…that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers.”
Abortion providers have long been the target of assault, verbally and physically, including the murder of eight doctors since 1993. The offenders often claim that their actions were justified in order to protect the unborn child’s life.
Some of the perpetrators of those crimes, including Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita, Kansas, abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, have attempted to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials.
You know the defense – I had to kill him so he wouldn’t – even though abortion is a legally protected medical procedure. I can understand if someone is against abortion. If I had to make a choice between keeping an unwanted pregnancy to term or to terminate it – I would probably choose to keep it. But it would be my choice if I was a pregnant woman and no one else.
These types of laws are at best an intimidation tactic towards providers and at worst the impediment of a woman’s right to choose.
We need to hear more stories from pro-choice women and men. Stories that tell the tale of their struggle to decide to have an abortion. Congresswoman Jackie Spier just that last week in her defense of Title X and Planned Parenthood. I will end with the Congresswoman’s words.
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.