Debate Delayed on Bill Not Allowing Shooting Abortionists

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 16, 2011   |   5:35PM   |   Pierre, SD

The sponsor of the bill that abortion activists wrongly say would allow the legal shooting of abortion practitioners has put off further discussion of the legislation until next week so he can mull over changes to it.

Rep. Phil Jensen says the bill has received so much national attention on false allegations that the legislation — intended to allow a legal defensive action for people defending women who are pregnant and victims of violent attacks — would somehow allow the killing of abortion practitioners that he wants to pause. He has defended the bill from the attacks by saying that the defensive force can’t be used in response to legal acts, like abortion.

The bill, HB-1171, is an expansion of the state’s definition of “justifiable homicide” to possibly include killing  of an unborn child.

“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,” the bill says.

According to ABC News, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley told Jensen he should consider adding the words “that is unlawful and” after the words “to a degree.”

Jensen also told that new legal analysis shows “South Dakota code already defines ‘unborn child’ as a person,” which could render the entire legislation moot. He said he wanted to take a week to determine if he wants to change the bill, leave it as is, or drop the legislation entirely.

“I had no idea this would cause such a furor,” he said Wednesday, saying he’s tired of all of the media calls on the bill. “The bill has nothing to do with abortion in reality.”

Jensen also called the interpretation of the bill by the liberal, pro-abortion magazine Mother Jones, which caused an Internet stir on the bill,  “absurd.”
“This has nothing to do with abortion. They didn’t understand the argument,” he said. “It is a self-defense bill; that’s purely and simply what it is.”

“That’s a stretch is all I can say,” Jensen told ABC News. “What it does is protect the mother who is trying to protect her unborn child. This covers cases where the mother’s life isn’t threatened but the unborn baby’s is.”

“There’s no way in the world that I or any other representatives wish to see abortion doctors murdered,” Jensen told me. “So we’re looking at some language that will include that. We’re looking at some language that would protect abortion providers.”

Meanwhile, pro-life advocate Bryan Kemper says the bill doesn’t, and could never, allow killing abortion practitioners.

“So once again the pro-abortion forces are trying to twist anything and everything they can to make pro-lifers look crazy, and to block any law that might protect a baby in the womb,” he said. “South Dakota HB 1171 is an amendment to a law that is meant to further clarify and strengthen the fetal homicide law already in place. Pro-aborts already hate the fact that someone who murders a pregnant woman can be charged with two counts of murder; giving those pregnant women the right to defend themselves is really freaking them out.”

“This law in no way makes it legal for anyone to shoot abortionists or any other staff at the child-killing centers. Abortion is still legal and HB1171 is only related to illegal acts,” he added.

“It is very clear that this bill allows a pregnant woman to defend her and her child’s life in an attack on either. It allows for a husband to use the necessary force to protect his pregnant wife and unborn child if they are being assaulted,” Kemper continued. “This does not apply to a woman seeking abortion, as this act is still legal. This is not what is making the abortion industry so crazy; it is the fact that this law further recognizes the child in the womb as human.”