Remember the Taliban before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan?

They were embattled politicians made up of religious fundamentists using extreme interpretations of ancient religious texts to justify their oppression of women and the murder of people with whom they disagreed.

So…how is this any different?

Last week, South Dakota’s legislature shelved a bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Phil Jensen, which would have allowed the use of the “justifiable homicide” defense for killings intended to prevent harm to a fetus. Now a nearly identical bill is being considered in neighboring Nebraska, where on Wednesday the state legislature held a hearing on the measure.

The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who is opposed to the prodedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit “justifiable homicide” in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.

“In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that’s something that’s unprecedented in our society,” Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday.

Behold, the resurgence of the American Taliban.

Update: Matt Yglesias points out the more pernicious effect of the legislation from South Dakota and Nebraska:

…there’s actually no need whatsoever for such a bill to pass. You just need several state legislators to introduce the bill, hold hearings, popularize the idea, generate press coverage and discussion, etc. Soon enough we’ll have another assassination of an obstetrician and the perpetrator will use the justifiable homicide defense. Say 20 percent of Nebraskans decide that, yeah, abortion is murder to killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide. How’re you going to get a unanimous verdict from a jury?


  1. 2

    samson shillitoe -- 'I still got it!' spews:

    Does the ability to save a foetus by killing a unworthy father count as foetus protection also?

    If so, Republican state legislators would be an avidly hunted criminal.

    I just want to protect foetuses.

  2. 3

    samson shillitoe -- 'I still got it!' spews:

    My thought is that any state legislator that introduces such a bill gives cover and justification (in the mind’s of the nutcase anti abortionists)to murder whomever they feel is a threat to a foetus.

    The long way to end this would be to chase down all the crazies — the short way would be to arrest the legislators as accessories to murder.

  3. 5

    Steve spews:

    Darryl, you written some excellent posts since Goldy took off. This just might be a better blog now than when he was here.

  4. 6

    What do you expect spews:

    Keep in mind, the legislature (state or Federal) can PASS anything they want. They can pass a bill saying Jews can’t go outside on Tuesday’s, or that people over 6 foot tall can’t eat at Denny’s. They can PASS any pile of word vomit they want. The courts (3rd branch of government) can still decide that the word vomit violates the state or Federal constitution. There’s always insane political jackasses who propose all sorts of joke legislation to appeal to the dumbest of voters…knowing it will never pass or wouldn’t be constitutional, but they can tell their power stupid constituents they “tried”.

  5. 7


    Say 20 percent of Nebraskans decide that, yeah, abortion is murder to killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide. How’re you going to get a unanimous verdict from a jury?

    Wow. Yglesias has a damned good point.

    Using the legislative process as a medium for hate speech. I hadn’t considered that. My bad.

  6. 8

    Steve spews:

    Sigh! In other strange wingnut news, I see that Republican Sen. John Ensign, truly a paragon of virtue and a good Christian, is going to bat for brothels in Nevada. I take it that this the long awaited revealing of the Republican job program, prostituting America’s women.

  7. 9

    Steve spews:

    But to keep my last post at least marginally on topic, I’m sure Senator Ensign is all for seeing that America’s prostitutes have access to health care, contraceptives and abortions.


  8. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 7: Insurance companies have been using that tactic for decades. Every time you see stories planted in the news about “outragious” payouts in tort cases, the original source is almost always an insurance company hack who distorts the case beyond all recognition. The purpose of the tactic is to influence juries, hoping that at least two people on a jury hold out for minimal damage awards.

    Remember that for every court case, there are (at least) two sides. And whenever you hear the phrase saying that the victim “won a settlement”, you might as well quit listening to the rest of the story. It’s intended to make it sound like someone won the lottery, receiving undeserved riches. But if it’s a settlement, then why did the insurance company agree to it, except that they were sufficiently convinced of their vulnerability that they thought the settlement was cheaper than their probable result after a trial?

  9. 12

    slingshot spews:

    Lock ‘n load, liberals–if this shit maintains it’s current trajectory, only second amendment solutions will prove effective.

  10. 13

    zzippy spews:

    Darryl, I knew where you were going with your first two paragraphs before reading further, but they were still funny, apt, and spot on.

    I miss Goldy’s writings here, but you take up a lot of the slack. Keep it up!

  11. 14

    Michael spews:

    Say 20 percent of Nebraskans decide that, yeah, abortion is murder to killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide. How’re you going to get a unanimous verdict from a jury?

    Doing this could scare off the few remaining doctors that perform abortions in SD and NE. Maybe that was what they were aiming for.

    Years back, when one of the Dakotas (I forget which one) tried to ban abortion the tribes all said they’d open their clinics to anyone seeking an abortion. The net effect being that abortion would have been MORE available post ban.

  12. 15

    ArtFart spews:

    @12 Great…they’ll kill us, and we’ll kill them, and then things will be nice and quiet.

  13. 16

    proud leftist spews:

    Great point. Doing voir dire as a plaintiff’s lawyer in a personal injury case nowadays is an exercise in torture. The insurance industry has implanted so many myths (that have morphed into articles of faith) into the minds of the average citizen, that trying to get a jury to simply focus on the facts of the case before them becomes almost impossible. The industry has done this through a number of techniques, and certainly repetitive introduction of legislation and initiatives that permit the industry to trot out its nonsense about frivolous claims and the like is a major part of the strategy. I have seen far more frivolous insurance denials in my time than I have frivolous claims. There is no comparison. Yet, is “frivolous claim denial” part of the national lexicon? Don’t think so.

  14. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think “harm to a fetus” could be read broadly enough to justify killing* the parents if they’re Republicans so the child won’t grow up under their influence.

    * This is a JOKE you fucking idiots! See, e.g., Ann Coulter’s concentration camp jokes.

  15. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    So what’s next, legalizing the murder of Democrats? Where will they stop? By the way, real Christians don’t murder people.

  16. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Republicans understand this; that’s why outfits like the BIAW spend millions to fill the courts with insane jackasses.

  17. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There’s two little legal problems with these state bills, though. Even if they passed, and were upheld by state courts staffed with insane jackasses, a state can’t repeal federal law. So, murderers of abortion doctors could still be prosecuted and civilly sued under federal civil rights laws.

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 That’s still better than them killing us and having this place to themselves. The operative principle here is let ‘em know that if they kill us, we’re taking them with us.

  19. 26

    doggril spews:

    The bill’s sponsor is a “devout Christian”?? Only in his sick mind. Anyone who would twist the teachings of the New Testament to justify murder is disturbed. Anyone who would twist the teachings of the New Testament to make murder legal is demented.

  20. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Actually, these proposed laws are ambiguous. They can be read in various ways. Most (if not all) states already authorize the use of deadly force against an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm. To the extent these bills are read as self-defense statutes saying the same thing, they’re merely restating existing law. At the other extreme, if they’re interpreted as authorizing pre-emptive vigilante killings against abortion doctors, they’re clearly unconstitutional because they deprive the doctor-victims of their lives without due process of law. My guess is what’s being sought here is to include an unborn fetus in the definition of a human being entitled to self-defense. Read that way, they would not authorize killing an abortion doctor simply because he’s an abortion doctor; self-defense would come into play only if an actual fetus was about to be aborted. But a clever defense attorney might try to argue that killing an abortion doctor as he enters a clinic building would be entitled to a claim of self-defense because at that point in time one or more abortions are “imminent.” As a practical matter, these legislators probably are trying to intimidate abortion doctors in order to keep abortion clinics out of their states, in which case these laws would be struck down as unconstitutional.

  21. 29

    samson shillitoe -- 'I still got it!' spews:

    re 17: It’s a sad commentary on the times when state legislators can introduce LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING THE MURDER OF PEOPLE THEY DISAGREE WITH — but you can’t tell a very mild joke about the idiots proposing the legislation without fear of being legally targeted.

    We should all take advantage of the second amendment — and I’m not joking.