(Editor's note: see the most recent reporting on the bill being killed at the New York Times)
You know that South Dakota legislator who introduced a bill that could legalize the murder of abortion providers? Yeah, well, apparently he's been busy taking a lot of angry phone calls.
Via Greg Sargent:
South Dakota state representative Phil Jensen -- who unexpectedly found himself in the center of a national firestorm yesterday over his proposal to expand the state's definition of "justifiablede" to apply to killings in defense of the unborn -- now appears ready to back down.
Jensen tells me he is eyeing changes to the language of his bill that would make it airtight that abortion providers could not be targeted in any "justifiable homicide" protecting fetuses from the procedure.
Jensen is meeting with the state's Attorney General to discuss changing the language of the bill to make it clear that those who murder abortion providers will not be covered by the justifiable homicide defense.
"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."
Well, that's reassuring. However, when Jensen first spoke to Sargent, he was singing a slightly different tune. He defended the bill and offered this convoluted example of the bill's real purpose:
Say an ex-boyfriend who happens to be father of a baby doesn't want to pay child support for the next 18 years, and he beats on his ex-girlfriend's abdomen in trying to abort her baby. If she did kill him, it would be justified. She is resisting an effort to murder her unborn child.
That's a pretty standard rationalization for warriors in the war on women. Introduce a law that will make it that much harder for women to obtain safe access to reproductive health care, and then say that it's really for the good of women. Jensen's bill doesn't allow the "pro-life" movement -- of which he is an ardent supporter -- to get away with murder. No, it's all about empowering women to defend themselves from abusive partners.
And besides, the bill wouldn't cover the "pro-life" murderers because the bill only addresses illegal acts, and abortion is currently legal. But, Jensen said, the bill would cover "pro-life" murderers if abortion were illegal. And, what do you know, South Dakota is one of those states where "pro-life" legislators -- like Jensen -- are constantly trying to ban abortion, in spite of Roe v. Wade. It already has a law on the books that automatically bans abortion if Roe is overturned. So, if South Dakota legislators like Jensen get their wish, abortion providers in South Dakota could be fair game.