Recently I highlighted a story about a woman arrested for her self-administered (via RU-486) abortion; I then asked what you, readers, believe the repercussions should be for breaking the law if abortion were illegal. In a case of coincidental timing, Live Action News also recently discussed the punitive implications of legally restricting abortion.
In the post, author Calvin Freiburger reacts to “a video of someone asking a small handful of pro-life demonstrators…if they think women who have abortions should go to prison. Most of them say ‘no’ and/or admit they never gave the question much thought.”
Mr. Freiburger makes several points worth re-posting. First of all:
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Additionally, I believe there are certain limitations in the abortion/murder comparison. Mr. Freiburger articulates one of the differences quite nicely:
It’s important to recognize the legal and cultural context that distinguishes abortion from post-birth homicide, theft, rape, and just about every other crime: only abortion has decades of legal recognition and social celebration as a constitutional right, and pervasive misinformation about what its victim is – a propaganda campaign backed by a powerful industry, influential advocacy groups, forces at every level of government, one of America’s two main political parties, and scores of wide-ranging voices in our media, education establishment, and popular culture. It’s entirely appropriate to consider how pervasively abortion-seekers have been misled for so long when deciding whether to punish them.
In a collection of other pro-life opinions on the subject, Professor Matthew Franck also expresses the point well (emphasis added):
American women have been taught that their unborn children have no claim on them — mere lumps of tissue to be discarded if inconvenient. If the law is to recover its sanity, it will have to proceed by degrees, forbidding what it can and enforcing its prohibitions by the mildest punishments sufficient to achieve the desired results. Consciousness of abortion’s wrongness will not be rebuilt overnight. It is plausible that we could begin by reducing the number of abortions in America by 90 percent with zero jail time for any woman who obtains one. In a more just society a generation or two after Roe, further reductions might require stronger laws. But by then, such laws would once again be tolerable and recognized as just. Which is to say, the law must be prudent, not the product of sophomore logic.
If abortion were made illegal, do you think this incremental approach makes sense?