Monday, July 30, 2007

Connecting the Dots

From Anna Quindlen at Newsweek:

A new public-policy group called the National Institute for Reproductive Health wants to take this contradiction and make it the centerpiece of a national conversation, along with a slogan that stops people in their tracks: how much time should she do? If the Supreme Court decides abortion is not protected by a constitutional guarantee of privacy, the issue will revert to the states. If it goes to the states, some, perhaps many, will ban abortion. If abortion is made a crime, then surely the woman who has one is a criminal. But, boy, do the doctrinaire suddenly turn squirrelly at the prospect of throwing women in jail.

Lawmakers in a number of states have already passed or are considering statutes designed to outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned. But almost none hold the woman, the person who set the so-called crime in motion, accountable. Is the message that women are not to be held responsible for their actions? Or is it merely that those writing the laws understand that if women were going to jail, the vast majority of Americans would violently object?

It is interesting that the conversation of punishment always centers around the doctors and never the woman. If abortions were illegal, could we really consider it anything less than first-degree murder? (It's willful... it's premeditated...)

You can read the rest of the article here.

You can see the YouTube video here. ** updated link**


Edith OSB said...

This is an interesting aspects. Any law that prohibits an action recognizes that people are, in fact, doing that action, and will have motives to continue to do so -- and attempts to set deterrents.

As you point out, prison is one such. However, it isn't the only option. Some women choose abortion because they can't see how they could afford the cost of bearing and raising the child (as can be seen by the reduced number of abortions under administrations that provide somewhat better welfare benefits).

I wonder what would be the impact of a large fine, with the proceeds going to provide medical care and support the children of women who choose not to have an abortion?

Alexandra said...

I guess first it would have to be decided what exactly to call the crime. Homicide? That's what the pro-life activists keep telling us it is. But the last time I checked, homicide carries some pretty stiff penalties. I'm not sure the public would react well to the death penalty in Texas for a woman who intentionally had an abortion. Would there be an exception for abortions? And if so, does that exception mean the fetus isn't being considered a full person under the law?

So if the punishment for killing a fetus is a fine, are we going to change the sentencing guidelines for people charged with double homicide for killing a pregnant woman? Will they pay a fine for the death of the fetus and do prison time for the death of the mother? Why would it be acceptable for a woman to abort her own fetus and pay a fine but not someone else?

And if it is dubbed a homicide, what happens to the husband/boyfriend who is complicit in this act? Can they be charged as an accomplice?

What about the boyfriend who talks the woman into an abortion? Can an abortion be performed under duress? Would that be a viable defense?

And the friend that picks you up from the clinic and brings you home, what will they be charged with?

Anonymous said...

Let's see ... impose a "large fine" on women who can't afford the cost of bearing and raising a child and have that money go to the children of everyone who else who doesn't have an abortion... I guess that means the the other 12,000 babies born that same day. How's that going to work again?

Anonymous said...

Many pro-lifers don't call for penalties for the women, for three reasons. First, many pro-lifers have submitted to abortions themselves, and understand that abortive women have no malice; that they are taken advantage of at a vulnerable moment. Second, the women are the best source of evidence to convict abortion providers -- Penalties against them would make them even more reluctant to come forward and identify the abortion providers. Third, there is a shortage of jail space in America, and they don't want to see a cell taken up by a woman who had one abortion when it could house an abortion provider who may have done thousands.

Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

The YouTube video has been pulled --I wonder why the producer pulled it?

I don't think any abortion providers perform 'with malice' -- for a brilliant portrayal of the complexities of the issue, check out the movie Vera Drake (2004).

Whatever happened to that brilliant campaign by the DeMoss Foundation -- those television ads which ran under the theme "Life: What a Beautiful Choice."? I never understood why the pro-choice movement picked up on that and reinforced that, yes, life is beautiful -- so long as it remains a choice.