Abortion: Do The Crime, Do The… Time?
Posted by Talia Cain on September 24, 2008
One particular aspect of the abortion debate that is rarely discussed is that if performing-slash-undergoing an abortion should be deemed an illegal act, then what is due punishment for the woman who commits this “crime”? Last year, Anna Quindlen of Newsweek wrote a compelling article addressing this conundrum, titled “How Much Jail Time?”.
Quindlen is not surprised by the responses of pro-lifers to this question in a mini-documentary:
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.”
It poses questions to those who classify abortion as murder. What do you propose as punishment? You consider it murder, so the first step would be incarcerating the medical team that perform and assist in the procedure. Will there be a non-parole period? Should the sentence differ if the aborted foetus is 1 week old or 28 weeks old? Surely not if you believe that “life begins at conception”. What of the woman that seeks out the aborting of a foetus? She’s a willing participant – perhaps a lesser sentence of say, manslaughter?
It’s stupid for me to play the guessing game, I’m pro-choice and believe abortion should be legal – so you tell me the answers. I’m fairly certain there would an uproar if we started to see women put through our courts and flung into jail for a harrowing decision they have made about their own body and pregnancy.
Recently I was invited to join a Facebook group called “Saving Babies” (emotive-much?), by my (extremely lovely) old school-mate who happens to be a new mother and a staunch Christian. I had noticed her Facebook updates where she stated that legalising abortion is “too far”, I bit my lip at responding “putting a law in place that women and medical practitioners don’t always have the threat of the law hanging above their head is ‘too far’?!”. I had held back with these types of rants, until this group invitation.
As a pro-choice advocate, I believe that each individual has a right to their own set of beliefs when it comes to abortion. I also understand that these beliefs are unlikely to change, but when you spot such idiotic comments such as “i red [sic] this in an article, Mother Theresa prayed to God asking him why there had never been a cure for Aids and the Lord told her that he had sent some one but she was a aborted…… that says it all“, it’s really hard not to smash your head against the keyboard. It’s also hard to refrain yourself from replying “What about all the aborted foetuses that might have been (shock-horror) homosexuals? Atheists? STEM-CELL RESEARCH ADVOCATES?” Alas, Jesus wept. Feel free to view the group and read my more diplomatic comments that follow.
Pro-lifers should perhaps extend their thought processes to what would happen if they stopped medical professionals administrating abortions, as there are dire repercussions for preventing abortions from taking place in a safe environment. Hypothetically speaking, if we go back to back-yard abortions because anti-abortionists put a stop to medical practitioners safely administrating abortions, perhaps they should be bought before the courts for the deaths of women that would ultimately follow.