You are herePBS Need To Know: S.D. House to vote on ‘justifiable homicide’ in defense of fetus

PBS Need To Know: S.D. House to vote on ‘justifiable homicide’ in defense of fetus

February 15, 2011- A bill in South Dakota that would make killing in defense of a fetus a “justifiable homicide” is set to face a vote on the floor of the state House of Representatives today, and lawmakers who oppose the measure say it is likely to pass.

The bill would expand the definition of the state’s “justifiable homicide” law to include acts intended to prevent harm to a fetus, which has prompted fears among pro-choice advocates that the measure could incite and perhaps even legalize violence against abortion providers. Mother Jones first reported on the bill Tuesday morning.

The bill was passed out of a House committee last week by a vote of 9 to 3. In an interview with Need to Know, State Rep. Kevin Killer, a Democrat and one of the three members of the committee to vote against the measure, said the bill was scheduled for a vote by the entire House later today and that he expected it to pass, “much to my dismay.”

Marc Feinstein, another of the Democrats who voted against the bill in committee, said in an interview from the House chamber that the law was superfluous given the protections that already exist for acts of self-defense in the state’s criminal code. Feinstein said the measure was “overstepping reasonableness.”

“I think what you really have to look at is, What is the hidden intent here?” Feinstein said. “And I think the hidden intent is anti-abortion.”

Republican lawmakers were in a caucus meeting Tuesday afternoon and several of them did not return calls for comment.



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