Nebraska’s legislature is currently debating a bill that its neighbor, South Dakota, briefly considered but wisely decided to drop:
Last week, the Nebraska Legislature heard testimony for a bill that would give a pregnant woman the right to use deadly force in the defense of her fetus. It would also give a third party the right to use deadly force to protect a fetus. This bill is a similar, albeit more expansive, version of the South Dakota justifiable homicide bill that was introduced last session and recently shelved.
Senator Mark Christensen introduced the legislation. He stated in committee that the bill would ”œmake it clear that an individual may use force to protect an unborn child under the same circumstances that an individual may use force to protect any third person as currently provided under the law”.
This, of course, was the argument that Scott Roeder used (unsuccessfully) to convince a jury that killing George Tiller was “justifiable homicide” rather than murder — which Christensen’s colleague, Senator Council, pointed out:
Under your amendment, a person who believes that someone who was assisting a woman to obtain an abortion is threatening the life of the unborn child and would use that as a self-defense argument I am certainly aware of the case where that argument was made by an individual who shot and killed a doctor who was known to provide abortion services. And his self-defense argument was: I was protecting the unborn child, and I have a right if I believe that unborn child’s life is being threatened.
Senator Council, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, also questioned Christensen on the illogic of a bill that gives a pregnant woman a right of self-defense that she already has:
I guess I’m just curious as to any county attorney in Nebraska…if a woman was being threatened and if she happened to be pregnant at the time, if the woman was being threatened to the point where she herself could use deadly force to protect herself, why would it change by virtue of the fact that she was carrying a child? I mean, self-defense is self-defense in that scenario, because the unborn child is not going to be charged with the homicide, it’s going to be the mother. And I don’t understand why there is a concern that, in a situation like that, the mother would not have a recognized self-defense under current law?
These things don’t have to make sense, do they?
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