A Michigan man who shot an 84-year-old woman campaigning against abortion was sentenced to 100 hours of community service on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Richard Harvey, 75, shot Joan Jacobson, 84, on September 20 when she came to his door in Odessa Township, about 130 miles northwest of Detroit.
Jacobson spoke with Harvey’s wife, Sharon Harvey, at the door and argued with her, urging her to vote against a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine legal abortion in Michigan’s constitution, Sharon told investigators.
“This lady comes up to me, knocks on my door, and says she’s from some coalition to save women and babies,” Sharon Harvey said. “She needed me to vote no on Proposal 3.”
“I told her I can’t do that and she says, ‘Well, you have to.’ I says, ‘No, I don’t. It’s not going to happen,’” she said. “I told her I had a four-and-a-half month tubal pregnancy, and she says, ‘Well, you survived, didn’t you?’”
The constitutional amendment passed in November.
Jacobson was going door-to-door volunteering with Right to Life, a national anti-abortion organization. Harvey’s wife, who is pro-abortion, said she asked Jacobson to leave multiple times, and eventually Jacobson stepped off their front porch.
Harvey said he heard a “bunch of screaming” and came out of the barn with a .22-caliber rifle and first fired a warning shot.
Harvey said he then accidentally shot Jacobson.
“She is still ranting and raving and she’s got this clipboard. She’s waving it around. I’m thinking she’s going to smack Sharon with it. So without thinking, I went to club it away with the rifle and my finger was still in the trigger guard. It went off and hit her about in here,” Harvey told local News 8, pointing to his right shoulder.
“I shot somebody. It was an accident,” he said.
Jacobson said she believes Harvey shot her intentionally.
Right to Life said Jacobson was peaceful and was walking away when she was shot in the back. Harvey disputes that’s how the shooting unfolded. Jacobson suffered a shoulder wound and drove herself to a nearby police station. She was treated at a hospital and recovered.
Harvey also received a suspended jail sentence of two months, meaning he will likely not serve time if he does not break the law. He also received a delayed sentence of one year on probation, and he must pay $347.19 in restitution. He is also barred from any contact with Jacobson.
Last month, Harvey pled no contest to felonious assault, careless discharge of a firearm causing injury, and reckless discharge of a firearm.
Without Michigan’s new constitutional amendment enshrining legal abortion, a 1931 law banning abortion with no exemptions for rape or incest could have taken effect. Planned Parenthood and Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer challenged the 1931 law last year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.