- 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.
- 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.
The lines that are in bold are the proposed changes to South Dakota’s law on justifiable homicide. State representative Phil Jensen is the author of the bill. Anyone reading the current law with the proposed changes can clearly interpret the meaning, that someone could kill an abortion doctor and claim that it was justifiable homicide.
In Rep. Jensen’s defense, he claims that he is merely attempting to bring consistency to current law. That, “This code only deals with illegal acts. Abortion is legal in this country. This has nothing to do with abortion.”
Well, it can be seen that he pretends to be correct in his statement about the proposed changes. But, in my reading of the changes it has everything to do with abortion.
Abortion is the most divisive issue in America today. It is legal in this country as Rep. Jensen points out. Those that want to keep if that way are not willing to compromise. Those that oppose abortion find it difficult to slide in the direction of making some abortions legal. Their wish is to stamp it out completely.
So, those that mean well for their point of view, make end runs. Attempts are made to control abortion, to slow it down. Policy and laws are created that laden the activity with bureaucracy that will at the very least limit those that seek an abortion. But, responsible communities must be very careful about the unforeseen consequences of any law. In the beginning, a law may have the best intensions. Bu, as the law works its way into everyday life, a downside often presents itself.
To focus on the conservatives in this issue, the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) was envisioned as a way to break up organized crime. It made it illegal to create an organization that manages illegal activity. Great, it worked on getting many people involved in organized crime off the streets. The surprise came when anti-abortion organizations began feeling the sting of RICO charges for their illegal activities (although in some cases minor, like protests that trespassed on private property or more concerning activity like releasing names of abortion providers).
No matter what Rep. Jensen says about the changes he is proposing, just like the authors of the RICO act, it will have a downside. To provide anyone a defense (or for that matter, a crazed zealot reading between the lines) for killing a doctor or any other person working in a medical setting that provides abortions is not the right direction.
All of us should work at limiting the amount of abortions, such as preventing pregnancies. But, let’s make sure our best intentions don’t create more problems.