crimesider

Would South Dakota Bill Make Killing Abortion Providers Legal?

The South Dakota Capitol dome in Pierre, S.D., glows pink to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. The dome will be lit pink every night during October.
AP Photo/Capital Journal, Lisa Johansen

The South Dakota Capitol, file (Lisa Johansen, AP Photo/Capital Journal)

(CBS) South Dakota is currently considering a new bill, HB 1171, that expands the definition of justifiable homicide within the state. While such bills are not uncommon within state legislation, the online world is buzzing about some newly added language that could make killing an abortion provider considered "justifiable homicide." 

According to the newly amended language added to South Dakota's HB 1171:

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. (emphasis CBS)

The bill was originally introduced as a simple clarification of South Dakota's justifiable homicide law sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen and did not originally include the "unborn child" language.

The bill's sponsor, pro-life state Rep. Phil Jensen, reportedly disagrees with concerns about the new language, despite current laws already allowing prosecutors to charge people with manslaughter or murder for crimes that result in the death of fetuses.

"This simply is to bring consistency to South Dakota statute as it relates to justifiable homicide," said Jensen in an interview with Mother Jones, repeating an argument he made in the committee hearing on the bill last week. "If you look at the code, these codes are dealing with illegal acts. Now, abortion is a legal act. So this has got nothing to do with abortion." 

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE?

Are people making a 'mountain out of a mole hill' or is this a legal maneuver to declare 'open season' on abortion providers?