There is a law currently being considered in South Dakota that would broaden the definition of “justifiable homicide” to include instances where a person kills in order to prevent harm to a fetus. This extended definition comes dangerously close to making it completely justifiable to murder a doctor who performs abortions.
Under the circumstances as the pregnant woman reasonably believes them to be, she would be justified under § 22-16-35 in using force or deadly force to protect herself against the unlawful force or unlawful deadly force she reasonably believes to be threatening her unborn child; and
(2) She reasonably believes that her intervention and use of force or deadly force are immediately necessary to protect her unborn child.
the amended sections allow the bill to be read in a way so that it could be any relation of the mother that acts in a violent manner to protect the fetus. This without any consideration to the choice of the mother. So basically father/husband/brother/boy-friend could murder an doctor in order to save a fetus despite the mother’s wishes to terminate her pregnancy. The amended language is below…
Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.
Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:
22-16-35. 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. “