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South Dakota legislators move to legalize some terrorism and domestic violence

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 15:32 EDT
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Anti-choicers are really on the march lately, but even I was shocked by this latest news: South Dakota legislators are trying to amend some changes to the “justifiable homicide” definition to include killing someone to prevent the killing of a fetus. This proposed change is one of the best exposures of the beliefs about gender that are lurking underneath the maudlin fetus stuff, because the bill doesn’t allow anyone to play a white knight killing an abortion provider…..just a family member of the woman getting the abortion. And, it seems that it might include allowing the killing of the woman, too, though it’s tough to say. If a woman tells her husband she’s getting an abortion whether he likes it or not, and he kills her to stop it, he also kills the fetus, but he did act in accordance with the law in the sense of motivation. Lawyers in the house?

You can smell the rationalization built in to say this isn’t about terrorism, because most people who have successfully killed abortion providers didn’t actually know any patients of theirs. But obviously, it’s an invitation to kill abortion providers, especially in light of how much the larger anti-choice movement is trying to encourage men who are bitter because an abortion allowed a girlfriend to leave them. In other words, men who are angry because they couldn’t trap a woman with pregnancy. Let’s be clear that any man who thinks it’s appropriate to trap a woman with pregnancy is a man who deserves to lose his relationship, full stop, but anti-choicers tend to romanticize and celebrate controlling, abusive men. I’ve seen anti-choice websites encourage men who’ve impregnated women to stomp into abortion clinics and try to remove her forcibly (though this is often portrayed in romantic terms, because hey, you’re showing her that you want to keep her around, and any woman should be slobberingly grateful that a man will have her). And of course, there’s the oldie-but-a-goodie of Jill Stanek applauding men beating women to punish them for thinking they can say no to incubating the manly seed. After describing the scene in “Godfather II” where Michael Corleone—a cold-blooded murdering gangster—slaps his wife after she admits an abortion, Stanek said (man, this never gets old):

That spontaneous slap was the reaction of a real man who a woman had just told she aborted his baby. Compare that to the modern day cowardly male response, “It’s your choice. Whatever you decide, I’ll support you.”

Straight from the “pro-life” mouth: Real men use violence to control women. Cowards believe women own themselves.

In the real world, it’s not unknown for abortion clinics to have to go to great lengths to keep domestic abusers from harming their partners or the health professionals in a clinic trying to provide abortions. Many abortion clinics just don’t let male partners past the waiting room, even though that means that women who want support from loving male partners often have to go it alone. It’s just a safety precaution, though. Unfortunately, domestic abusers are just the sorts to wait until the procedure is about to start to start throwing shit and breaking things, in order to get the maximum impact on the victim. That’s kind of how these things work, and clinics have to work around that.

If this bill passes into law, a wife beater whose wife is trying to abort for the entirely sensible reason that you don’t want babies with a batterer could walk into a clinic, shoot the doctor to prevent the abortion, and plead justifiable homicide, with the blessing of the South Dakota legislature and presumably the anti-choice movement that lobbied them.

Anyone who uses the term “pro-life” really has no excuse. It’s honestly one of the best examples of doublespeak in our current parlance, and it needs to end.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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