Tuesday, February 15, 2011

South Dakota Bringing Abortion Front and Center

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism


I am at a complete loss for words. A long time independent conservative, a strong advocate of limited government, an advocate of laissez faire capitalism, with libertarian leanings I can not even find the words to comment on the South Dakota House Bill 1171. It is such a bill as one might find existent in a extremist and repressive Islamic Theocracy. It is supported along a party line vote. Republicans are the supporter of this ill advised and dangerous bill. While I do not approve of  the language, "murdering abortion doctors will be legal", and I have not used this site as a source for information in the past, SD House Bill 1171 is so egregiously profane I found myself in general agreement with the following article.

Generally staying away the abortion debate this report pushed me into the fray of it all so to speak. There are times when one simply believes they must register in, even if they would prefer not to, and realize that in so going they are likely opening themselves up for criticism from their own. This is one of those times for me.

From the pages of Mother Jones.

This article has been updated.

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. "The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers."

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

Jensen did not return calls to his home or his office requesting comment on the bill, which is cosponsored by 22 other state representatives and four state senators.

"The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers," says Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers. Since 1993, eight doctors have been assassinated at the hands of anti-abortion extremists, and another 17 have been the victims of murder attempts. Some of the perpetrators of those crimes have tried to use the justifiable homicide defense at their trials. "This is not an abstract bill," Saporta says. The measure could have major implications if a "misguided extremist invokes this 'self-defense' statute to justify the murder of a doctor, nurse or volunteer," the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families warned in a message to supporters last week.


The original version of the bill did not include the language regarding the "unborn child"; it was pitched as a simple clarification of South Dakota's justifiable homicide law. Last week, however, the bill was "hoghoused"—a term used in South Dakota for heavily amending legislation in committee—in a little-noticed hearing. A parade of right-wing groups—the Family Heritage Alliance, Concerned Women for America, the South Dakota branch of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, and a political action committee called Family Matters in South Dakota—all testified in favor of the amended version of the law.

Jensen, the bill's sponsor, has said that he simply intends to bring "consistency" to South Dakota's criminal code, which already allows prosecutors to charge people with manslaughter or murder for crimes that result in the death of fetuses. But there's a difference between counting the murder of a pregnant woman as two crimes—which is permissible under law in many states—and making the protection of a fetus an affirmative defense against a murder charge.

UPDATE: After Mother Jones inquired about HB 1171, state legislators made major changes to the legal language. The original version is here: (PDF). The new version (PDF) is drastically different. The most important change is the elimination of the ability for spouses, children, or parents of a pregnant woman to use the "justifiable homicide" defense if they claim they were trying to prevent harm to an unborn child. Now only the pregnant woman herself can use the defense. The new version also adds clarifying exceptions: the "justifiable homicide" defense cannot be used for "the defense of human embryos existing outside of a woman's body," and does not apply in cases where the woman was using force anything other than a last resort in the defense of a fetus.

Text of full article.

In the meantime I know I will not be throwing my support behind Mike Huckabee should he eventually decide to run for President in 2012. Or any other far right reactionary for that matter.

Via: Memeorandum

23 comments:

  1. i see nothing inconsistant in Jensen's argument. the argument of self-defense has always applied in the protection of the life of persons other than yourself. and the fact that one person has given permission to another person to take the life of a third person is not a valid argument against it.

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  2. Hmm. I'm kinda torn here.

    This requires deeper research and some time for reflection.

    By the way, it is a travesty that The Supreme Court ruled a fetus isn't a human being. And people actually believe that.

    Just a thought. I shall definitely be back on this one.

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  3. "the fact that one person has given permission to another person to take the life of a third person is not a valid argument against it."

    Griper's statement encapsulates why I am torn on this issue. I believe that abortion can be reasonably argued as the taking of another human life. The role the state should play in the issue, however, is something that I am VERY torn over, hence the fact that I don't discuss the issue at LCR.

    Also, I hardly think that the "invitation to murder abortion providers" will come about via South Dakota's measure, that is a scare tactic and attempt by the far-left Mother Jones lunatic types to paint those on the anti-abortion side as mad-hat bombers...

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  4. The question is; does insanity on one side justify insanity on the other?

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  5. Well, in cases where a pregnant mother is murdered the unborn child is also a victim in the eye of the law. What I do not understand is why we need a superfluous law. If the mother's life is in danger she is justified in using any means necessary to protect herself and her unborn child.
    I too, need to research this one.

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  6. Reb,
    you brought up two valid points about this issue.

    just the recognition that the fetus is a human being necessitates that the state has a role in the issue of abortion. if it didn't then it has no role in any situation where a person takes the life of another person. and that means the state has to have the right to define criminal homocide.

    and even if that part passed it would not justify the taking of the life of a person who performs abortions, as claimed, unless the person was actually performing the abortion at the time his life was taken.

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  7. Gorges,
    doesn't an explicit declaration of insanity of one side presume an implicit declaration of sanity of the other side?

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  8. I have given many hours of thought, indeed many years of though in consideration of this issue and its ethical ramifications. It is, for the thinking individual, perhaps one of the most difficult ethical questions of our times.

    The real question to be answered {at lest in my mind} is.... does a random group of cells, without a central nervous system or digestive system, incapable of surviving outside the mothers womb either, either with or without a life support system constitute a living BEING.

    In my mind the answer is no. They do not.

    I have long believed that at the point a fetus can live outside the mother womb, either WITHOUT, or WITH life support it is developed enough to be considered human life and abortion should then no longer be an option.

    Medical science is capable of answered this question. It is why abortion beyond the point in which medical has determined a fetus can survive either without or with life support should be considered taking a human life.

    Unless the failure to abort would result in a loss of the mothers life.

    For those, who support partial birth abortions I will clearly and definitively say that, at least in in my mind, is, in fact murder.

    Just the opinion of an independent conservative with libertarian leanings.

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  9. Rationality and reason should prevail in all ethical considerations.

    That is why faith can not, nor should it, play a role in such considerations.

    Faith in some societies condone "honor killings" as justifiable. Which is just as irrational in this writers opinion as believing three week fertilized cells for example constitute a human being.

    A human beings life starts at the point in time the fetus can indeed survive either with or without life support and therefor human cognition become POSSIBLE and PROBABLE.

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  10. Les is a true libertarian - that means that he is as much as social libertarian as an economic libertarian. his argument is consistant, and in my opinion, extremely well put and correct.

    Even with the changes, which pretty much nueter the bill, the language of "justifiable homicide" is exactly the language the murderers of abortion providers use in court, thus far unsuccessfully.

    What makes the bill so obviously a symbolic nod to far right extremists is that any docctor would stop any procedure if there was any disturbance or reluctance to have it performed. They have to. It's a matter of professional practice - and malpractice, which can cost a fortune and end a career, even land one in prison.

    It is of course illegal to harm the fetus of an unwilling mother. OF COURSE. We should all know that. In fact, it's illegal to commit feticide pretty much everywhere.

    Here's the facts about late term abortion:

    "United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks.[13] Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability.[13] In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.[14]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late-term_abortion#Incidence

    There's no reason to pass a bill like this but to assuage the worst elements of the very far, extreme, radical, religious right. Conservatives think liberals are statists? Try the far, extreme, religious right on for size!

    I applaud Les for his intellectual accumen and honesty in this matter. It doesn't surprise me. He's smart.

    It's all well and fine to be Pro-Life. Some of the smartest, nicest people I know are Pro-Life. But the language of this bill is dangerously misguided. If Pro-Life people want to end abortion, they should do it through the public square, not with assassinations.

    JMJ

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  11. "does a random group of cells, without a central nervous system or digestive system, incapable of surviving outside the mothers womb either, either with or without a life support system constitute a living BEING."

    science would disagree with you on the first part of this, RN. they do recognize it as a living being. and the womb is just the natural environment of that being as nature intended for it. even you live in an environment as intended for you by nature and would not survive if taken out of that environment.

    and the cells of that fetus is no more random than the cells of your own body.

    so, logically, RN, if by your description, that fetus does not deserve the right of life then by your own logic neither do you.

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  12. Griper - As I defined it they are individual cell, not viable human life.

    Better make sure you don't inadvertently extinguish an amoeba my friend. For is you do, in your logic, you're killing a life.

    Religion can be dangerous thing as well as a guide to rational compassionate living.

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  13. Rational,

    You said:
    "Rationality and reason should prevail in all ethical considerations.

    That is why faith can not, nor should it, play a role in such considerations."
    -----------------------------------

    My sir, how can you say faith has no role or place in an ethical decision? Did you really mean to say it that way?

    Not an argument, but an observation.

    Your rationale is closer (but not exactly the same!) to that of Peter Singer than that of a rational person.
    See link:
    http://health.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977775553

    If you cried in joy when your wife told you that she was pregnant with your child, then you cried over a glob of unformed tissues, or did you cry because you knew you had pro-created another human being who would be your son or daughter?

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  14. Anon - I also said the following....

    "Medical science is capable of answered this question. It is why abortion beyond the point in which medical has determined a fetus can survive either without or with life support should be considered taking a human life.

    Unless the failure to abort would result in a loss of the mothers life.

    For those, who support partial birth abortions I will clearly and definitively say that, at least in in my mind, is, in fact murder."

    and this....

    "Faith in some societies condone "honor killings" as justifiable. Which is just as irrational in this writers opinion as believing three week fertilized cells for example constitute a human being.

    A human beings life starts at the point in time the fetus can indeed survive either with or without life support and therefor human cognition become POSSIBLE and PROBABLE."

    The decision out to rest with the women and man involved up to a point.

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  15. @Jersey: It is of course illegal to harm the fetus of an unwilling mother. OF COURSE. We should all know that. In fact, it's illegal to commit feticide pretty much everywhere.

    Inconsistent, as usual. First you praise Les for his logical libertarianism, and then you make an argument base on one person owning another, a major libertarian foul.

    It is quite legal to commit feticide, as you call it. Millions a year are committed.

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  16. Anon - I also said....

    "Religion can be dangerous thing as well as a guide to rational compassionate living."

    perhaps I stated it in a way that leads to misunderstanding. For clarification....

    Faith is neither a prerequisite nor a requirement to ethical and moral behavior. For if it were then the many unethical and immoral behaviors perpetrated, and or supported by faith based organizations throughout history would not have occurred.

    I do not take ethical or moral considerations lightly sir. As I stated early on....

    "I have given many hours of thought, indeed many years of though in consideration of this issue and its ethical ramifications. It is, for the thinking individual, perhaps one of the most difficult ethical questions of our times."

    I have considered in depth this issue over a period of years. Faith, or as I chose to call it, spirituality, has its place. I have not said it doesn't.

    Interesting that spirituality means many and varied things to people.

    I shall leave it at that.

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  17. les,
    i'm not going to argue with you over this but you better study your biological science again. there are single cell life forms. and this cell is one and human by defintion.

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  18. I understand your point. I realize there are single cell life forms. I do not questing that.

    But that singular issue is not the point of this post.

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  19. that may not be the point of this post, les, but it is the foundational basis for your view of this bill. and you cannot by the use of logic deny it.
    i just hate to see you using misleading liberal arguments for your stance. that is all. that, in itself should make you suspicious of your stance.

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  20. My stance has nothing to do with literals, conservatives, libertarians, or moderates really.

    I make the point in the opening because I am all all I say I am. And that includes having independent views. If the left doesn't like it so be it, that is common. If the right doesn't like a position I take so be, that is the way it has to be.

    I am consistent, I am a Randian, and I view issues, such as this one, without the blinders of religious ideology.

    My apologies if my stance offends some. However, it is what it is and I shall not compromise my principles nor what I consider rational beliefs.

    Modern liberals {progressives}, while more often than not are wrong, they are are not always wrong.

    For if this were so then our founding fathers {classical liberals, progressives, and radicals all} would have been wrong, correct. In this instance liberal thinking is in my opinion correct. The bill as ORIGINALLY written is reactionary and repressive, and even with the changes the FACT that reactionary repressive republicans worded it as it was ORIGINALLY worded to me is simply revolting.

    Sorry, that's my final word.

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  21. Silver, NO they are not. Only a tiny percentage, some .08% of abortions are late term. The vast majority of abortions are of embryos, not fetuses.

    JMJ

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  22. I would invite anyone who views humanity as not being human until a certain term during pregnancy or what have you, to go and look behind the dumpsters of their local Planned Parenthood building.

    That's my final word.

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  23. i disagree in abortion. no matter what it cause to us, still it is so inhumane to kill an innocent child. According to the New York Times, South Dakota House Bill 1171 has been laid to rest. The bill was roundly criticized for language that could conceivably change the definition of justifiable homicide under state law to contain those who aid in the abortion of a fetus, for instance abortion doctors. I found this here: South Dakota drops justifiable homicide-driven abortion bill The public relations nightmare the proposed legislation was clearly bound to create brought on state legislators to give it another look and table the motion for a vote.

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