A Michigan man has been charged with shooting an elderly anti-abortion canvasser.
The man told a local outlet that the shooting was an accident.
The incident highlights how fractious the topic of abortion is in the United States.
A Michigan man has been charged over the shooting of an elderly woman who was knocking on doors to campaign against abortion rights, reports say.
Richard Alan Harvey, 74, is accused of shooting 84-year-old Joan Jacobson in the shoulder while she was arguing with his wife on September 20, per The Guardian.
Prosecutors charged him on Friday with one count each of assault with felonious assault, careless discharge of a gun causing injury, and reckless use of a firearm.
The most severe charge of felonious assault can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison.
Harvey, from Ionia county, near Grand Rapids, told local outlet WOOD-TV that the shooting was an "accident." He had collected the gun from a barn after he says Jacobson had refused to leave the property. He had already fired a warning shot at a tree, The Guardian reported.
"She (the volunteer) 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," he told the outlet, indicating to his right shoulder.
Jacobson, a longtime volunteer with the anti-abortion group Right to Life, was knocking on doors to ask voters to oppose a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in Michigan's constitution, according to The Detriot News.
She told the paper that Harvey's wife began arguing with her and told her to leave their property and that she was getting ready to go when she was shot.
Harvey disputed her version of events in his interview with WOOD-TV, claiming that she was told to leave the property at least a dozen times but refused.
Jacobson drove herself to a nearby police treatment and then received medical treatment for her wound, she told The Detroit News.
Michigan is holding a ballot to let voters decide to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state's constitution in November, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, which removed the constitutional right to an abortion.
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