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15 Feb

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

 Mother Jones

A bill under consideration in the Mount Rushmore State would make preventing harm to a fetus a “justifiable homicide” in many cases.

The MGlynn: Complete Madness!!

State of South Dakota  
EIGHTY-SIXTH SESSION
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2011  

The Bill. HOUSE JUDICIARY ENGROSSED    NO.  HB 1171 –  2/9/2011

Introduced by:    Representatives Jensen, Bolin, Brunner, Greenfield, Haggar, Hansen (Jon), Hickey, Hoffman, Hubbel, Kopp, Magstadt, Miller, Nelson (Stace), Olson (Betty), Rausch, Russell, Sly, Steele, Stricherz, Van Gerpen, Venner, Verchio, and Willadsen and Senators Kraus, Fryslie, Lederman, and Maher

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.

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Tue Feb. 15, 2011 3:00 AM PST

— By Kate Sheppard

South Dakota’s legislature is strongly tilted against abortion rights, which makes passing restrictions fairly easy. Just 19 of 70 House members and 5 of the 35 state senators are Democrats—and many of the Democrats also oppose abortion rights.

The law that would legalize killing abortion providers is just one of several measures under consideration in the state that would create more obstacles for a woman seeking an abortion. Another proposed law, House Bill 1217, would force women to undergo counseling at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) before they can obtain an abortion. CPCs are not regulated and are generally run by anti-abortion Christian groups and staffed by volunteers—not doctors or nurses—with the goal of discouraging women from having abortions.

A congressional investigation (see below) into CPCs in 2006 found that the centers often provide “false or misleading information about the health risks of an abortion”—alleging ties between abortion and breast cancer, negative impacts on fertility, and mental-health concerns. “This may advance the mission of the pregnancy resource centers, which are typically pro-life organizations dedicated to preventing abortion,” the report concluded, “but it is an inappropriate public health practice.” In a recent interview, state Rep. Roger Hunt, one of the bill’s sponsors, acknowledged that its intent is to “drastically reduce” the number of abortions in South Dakota.

House Bill 1217 would also require women to wait 72 hours after counseling before they can go forward with the abortion, and would require the doctor to develop an analysis of “risk factors associated with abortion” for each woman—a provision that critics contend is intentionally vague and could expose providers to lawsuits. A similar measure passed in Nebraska last spring, but a federal judge threw it out it last July, arguing that it would “require medical providers to give untruthful, misleading and irrelevant information to patients” and would create “substantial, likely insurmountable, obstacles” to women who want abortions. Extending the wait time and requiring a woman to consult first with the doctor, then with the CPC, and then meet with the doctor again before she can undergo the procedure would add additional burdens for women—especially for women who work or who already have children.

The South Dakota bills reflect a broader national strategy on the part of abortion-rights opponents, says Elizabeth Nash, a public policy associate with the Guttmacher Institute, a federal reproductive health advocacy and research group. “They erect a legal barrier, another, and another,” says Nash. “At what point do women say, ‘I can’t climb that mountain’? This is where we’re getting to.”

Due to an editing error, an earlier, updated version of this article that was briefly available online stated that exemptions had been added to the bill after Mother Jones inquired about the legislation. That was wrong. Sorry. 

People for the American Way, a major progressive advocacy group, has issued a statement (see below) condemning the judiciary committee’s version of 1171.

Kate Sheppard covers energy and environmental politics in Mother Jones’ Washington bureau. For more of her stories, click here.

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Waxman Exposes Pregnancy Crisis Centers

— By Bradford Plumer

| Wed Jul. 19, 2006 1:16 PM PDT

Rep. Henry Waxman has released a new report on “pregnancy crisis centers,” which deceptively tout themselves as resource centers for pregnant women but end up giving false and misleading information about the “dangers” of abortion (a procedure which, at last count, is still safer than actually giving birth).

The report said that 20 of 23 federally funded centers contacted by staff investigators requesting information about an unintended pregnancy were told false or misleading information about the potential risks of an abortion

 

The pregnancy resource centers, which are often affiliated with antiabortion religious groups, have received about $30 million in federal money since 2001, according to the report, requested by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.). The report concluded that the exaggerations “may be effective in frightening pregnant teenagers and women and discouraging abortion. But it denies the teenagers and women vital health information, prevents them from making an informed decision, and is not an accepted public health practice.”Amanda Marcotte wrote a great article awhile back for Alternet about pregnancy crisis centers. A pregnant 17-year-old walked into one center under the mistaken impression that it was a Planned Parenthood. The center ended up calling the police, and then resorted to “staking out the girl’s house, phoning her father at work, and even talking to her classmates about her pregnancy, urging them to harass her” into not having an abortion. As a bonus, many states fund these places by slashing their family planning budgets.

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PFAW Condemns Abortion Provider Murder Bill

South Dakota’s House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers. The bill, reported today in Mother Jones, would expand the state’s definition of “justifiable homicide” to include killings meant to protect the life of a fetus. This is not a hypothetical issue: according to Mother Jones, eight abortion providers have been assassinated in the United States since 1993, and 17 more have suffered assassination attempts.

The South Dakota bill is part of a nationwide effort by anti-choice extremists to all but eliminate access to abortion services by asserting the “personhood” of fetuses. One such bill, introduced in the Ohio legislature, would make it illegal for women to seek abortions as soon as 18 days after conception—all but eliminating the constitutional right to access abortion services.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:

“This bill is an appalling attempt to further restrict the reproductive rights of women in South Dakota, while forcing abortion providers to risk their lives to provide care.

“The attempt to legalize the murder of abortion providers exposes the uncompromising zealotry of the anti-choice movement. A real ‘pro-life’ movement would respect the rights and judgment of women and certainly would not enable the murder of health care providers. I urge South Dakota legislators to examine their consciences before voting on a bill that would force women to seek illegal and unsafe abortions, and endanger the lives of health care providers.”

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