Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
14

The Personhood Movement is Quietly Rolling Along (Over Your Rights)

South Dakota is going to vote on a bill that amends its justifiable homicide law! They want to make sure that you can kill people with justification if someone is going to harm your unborn child "or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child." The amendment passed out of committee with a handy 9-3 vote. So you can see where this is going. (Fun fact: the law as written already allows you to kill to prevent a felony being performed upon your master or your servant.) The personhood movement is achieving success state by state (just like the gay marriage movement, sort of!) and they are going to try out a new tactic in Ohio: banning abortions after pregnancies of four weeks.

14 Comments / Post A Comment

IBentMyWookie (#133)

Well then I'll just have to get twice as many abortions to cover for this.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Well, where to start. First of all, there are zero abortion providers in the entire state of SD. So this law is kind of pointless, unless SD lawmakers intend for S Dakotans to drive to other states to shoot doctors. It's a law other states, you know, probably won't honor.

SD providers are all from out of state. Minnesota doc Carol Ball is one of the most prominent abortion providers who has regularly flown into SD for years. If anyone shot her, the MN state Guard would probably invade SD because she's kid of a local hero in MN, not to mention a prominent and valued member of the UM medical school gyn/onc program in Minneapolis. Shooting Ball would be the end of any personhood movement forever.

Not to mention how the full passage of a personhood law could be its own worst enemy at the hands of some very very ambitious lawyer.
http://www.theawl.com/2009/10/real-america-with-abe-sauer-fat-fetuses-and-felonies

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Tiller had similar status around here but that didn't stop Scott Roeder from putting a bullet in his head nor did it stop Brownback from getting elected in a landslide.

Matt (#26)

Whoa, dude, that is one boss retrofitting of the libertarian position on the Emancipation Proclamation. Hit me up the next time Cato is having a luncheon presentation, those sandwiches are BOMB.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Wait what? As far as I can tell, this law wouldn't allow anyone to shoot an abortion provider in a church either. "while resisting an attempt to harm" is the key phrase there. the passing of this would open a whole box of worms re: what "harm" means. Mother Jones is interpreting the law in an extreme way to (rightfully) draw attention to it. But it isn't a law "legalizing killing abortion providers." It's a dumb law with lots of holes in it which, as i point out above in an old Awl piece, all the personhood movement laws are riddled with potential unintended consequences.

Indeed, a more attention-grabbing headline for the proposed SD law is that I might be able to shoot a man who refuses to stop smoking in an enclosed area with my pregnant sister as he is "resisting an attempt to harm" the fetus.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Abe. You and I both know that there are people who think that Abortion Providers are "attempting to harm" fetuses everywhere by merely participating in the practice of offering abortions as an option. They would interpret laws like this as carte blanche to act as they see fit. I agree with you that personhood laws are stupid, but I think it's better to address this kind of legislative stupidity in the first place so the loonies don't have the opportunity to play with the keys to the dangerous new law machine… rather than eyerolling and taking the "aaaah it'll blow over" approach.

Matt (#26)

The point is to get pissed off now, before something happens.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Who said anything about a "it'll blow over approach?" And yes, address it now. But I think the approach NOT to take is the "oh, you're all just a bunch of Scott Roeders" approach. Another bad approach? The "South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers" headline approach. Instead, again as I think I note above, explaining to the middle group about the possible unintended consequences of personhood laws (eg, obese pregnant women/smokers can be charged with endangerment) is a better approach.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I guess the issue here is that the threat of violence against abortion providers is not some hypothetical specter raised to score rhetorical points. Roeder was not a fluke or an aberration; he was the continuation of a clear pattern, the latest consequence of continuing movement. I'm sure "shooting Ball would be the end of any personhood movement," but it would also be the end of her personhood. That is not an unthinkable outcome for anti-abortion extremists and that fact is important to consider.

roboloki (#1,724)

i'm going to pretend that's a reference to the violent femmes cover.

hockeymom (#143)

Ugh.
This, combined with the details on what actually happened during the "Minuteman" murder down in Arizona, make me want to scream. What is wrong with people?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

Do you have a good link to the Arizona story? Much appreciated.

C_Webb (#855)

Although he often annoys me, may I submit for consideration this observation from Adam Gopnik: "Our trouble is not the over-all absence of smartness but the intractable power of pure stupidity."

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