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.”