South Dakota is considering legislation that would allow people to protect themselves or loved ones from harm coming to an unborn child. Critics fear it would legalize homicide against abortion providers.
The bill will soon face floor vote in South Dakota's House of Representatives soon, the Huffington Post reports.
If it passed, it would provide protection to a family member who kills "in the lawful defense of ... his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person," Reuters writes.
Phil Jensen, a Republican legislator from Rapid City, says the bill isn't only dealing with abortion, and offered an example to media: "Let's say an ex-boyfriend finds out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant with his baby and decides to beat on her abdomen to kill the unborn child. This is an illegal act and the purpose of this bill is to bring continuity to South Dakota code as it relates to the unborn child."
Apparently, the bill only relates to self-defense claims.
Vicki Saporta, the head of the National Abortion Federation, is worried the bill will be misconstrued. "The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers."
Alisha Sedor, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, believes the legal implications of the bill make it dangerous. She told Reuters: "If it passes without an amendment exempting attacks on providers, it could incite violence from individuals who believe their actions will be found justifiable in court."
South Dakota has long been at the center of abortion debates. MSNBC reports, "Abortion rights activists say South Dakota voters want the Legislature to stop trying to restrict abortions. In two statewide votes, South Dakotans rejected measures that sought to ban nearly all abortions, they said."
Also this week, South Dakota passed a measure requiring women to consult with pregnancy help centers before getting abortions, the Rapid City Journal reports.