What should be the punishment for women if abortions were made illegal?
Some people protesting outside an abortion clinic were asked this question, and they were taken off guard:
Aug. 6, 2007 issue – Buried among prairie dogs and amateur animation shorts on YouTube is a curious little mini-documentary shot in front of an abortion clinic in Libertyville, Ill. The man behind the camera is asking demonstrators who want abortion criminalized what the penalty should be for a woman who has one nonetheless. You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It’s as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations. Here are a range of responses: “I’ve never really thought about it.” “I don’t have an answer for that.” “I don’t know.” “Just pray for them.”
You have to hand it to the questioner; he struggles manfully. “Usually when things are illegal there’s a penalty attached,” he explains patiently. But he can’t get a single person to be decisive about the crux of a matter they have been approaching with absolute certainty.
Rob, at Say Anything where he asks If Abortions Were Made Illegal, How Much Jail Time Should A Woman Get for Having One? states:
Regardless, the obvious answer to the question is: The woman should be charged with premeditated murder and sentenced with whatever punishment is associated with that in the jurisdiction she’s being tried in.
Abortion is, in fact, murder and no amount of biological gerrymandering, emotional rhetoric about rape and molestation or semantical arguments about who is and is not “a person” are going to change that.
But is this answer correct? Let’s assume, for a moment, that he’s right in his supposition that the woman should be charged with whatever is the appropriate crime for killing a life. Did she really kill it?
In fact, it may be the case that she’s more an accomplice or the get-a-way driver than the actual murderer, since in most cases the doctors and nurses that actually do the breaking, vacuuming and disposing of human life. One would say that they should be the ones sitting on death row or locked away forever.
And you could also go so far as to say that if a woman was mislead into having an abortion, she could actually be a victim instead of the accomplice. That difference could be hard to prove in a court of law should the woman ever be tried.
What do you think? Who is responsible in the killing of a baby by abortion and what should their punishment be?