Here’s the heart of the anti-abortion argument: voluntarily ending a pregnancy before its term is the moral, and now legal, equivalent of killing a born human being.
At any given anti-abortion rally or demonstration, you’ll find numerous “Abortion Is Murder” signs. This is the most positive spin I can imagine applying to the movement that took over the Republican Party beginning in the mid-1970s and gained steamroller momentum during the Reagan Years. Those who decide to abort, those who help them get an abortion, those who provide medical assistance in the surgical procedure itself, are parties to a capital crime.
Among Roman Catholics and other god-ists, participation in an abortion condemns everyone involved to a sentence of eternal damnation, an exile to hell. In that sense, the souls of the people involved in an abortion are as stained by mortal sin as those of murderous mobsters, serial killers, war criminals, assassins, and everyday brutes who’ve snuffed out another human being’s life.
Notice I said this was a positive spin. The reason I say that is there are at least a half dozen other, less savory, reasons many people oppose reproductive rights. They include misogyny, fear of female sexuality, desire to control women, tribalism, and a few others. I can’t accurately state how many anti-abortionists fall into any of the aforementioned categories but I feel confident to assert a huge swath of those prohibitionists are driven by rationales less lofty, less spiritual, less altruistic, than the simple Abortion Is Murder doctrine. But for the sake of this argument, I’ll focus on those who hold zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as close to their bosom as any human who’s ever emerged from a mother’s birth canal.
Many of the new state laws triggered by the US Supreme Court’s recent reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision criminalize doctors, nurses, technicians, and any and all friends, family, and loved ones who perform, assist, or enable women to get abortions. Abortion, these laws clearly imply, is a crime. The worst crime a person can commit. Murder.
This makes sense if one is to accept the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is an actual human being with guaranteed constitutional rights. Now, I don’t believe that, nor do the vast majority of people who espouse reproductive rights. But, again, millions of people believe with all their hearts the clump of cells in a woman’s Fallopian tube, making its way toward the uterus, is as human as you and me.
Why, then, do none of the new state laws restricting abortion, as well as those long in the books, call for criminally charging and legally punishing the women who choose to abort?
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if many of the Abortion Is Murder folks would be four-square in favor of putting a woman who aborts in criminal jeopardy. Yet the legislators and the prosecutors who are eager to put the new and existing state laws into practice have steadfastly avoided criminalizing women who abort.
In fact, if one were to accept the Abortion Is Murder idea, a woman who aborts must be held criminally responsible for her act. She has killed a human being. She called a clinic to set up an appointment, asked her best friend to drive her there the day of the procedure, and voluntarily submitted to the medical personnel’s physical act of snuffing out the human life that heretofore had been thriving within her womb.
She is a murderer.
At least in theory.
Separating the woman who chooses to abort from the criminal consequences of abortion is the equivalent of saying the person who drove the getaway car, the armed lookout, the abettor who provided the hideout, and the fence who laundered the loot all are to be held criminally responsible for the bank robbery. Only the actual person who stuck the gun in the teller’s face and ran off with the bag of cash would be exempt from prosecution.
You’d find that ridiculous, wouldn’t you? I do. Anybody would.
So why do the abortion restriction laws let the woman off the hook?
The only conceivable reason must be that everyone understands a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy is the ultimate personal choice, one that countless women have been forced to make since human beings came to realize they could actually abort. That realization came about thousands of years ago, so it’s not some newfangled, commie, socialist, homosexuality-grooming, Black Lives Matter attempt to bring down all of Western Civilization. Carrying a fetus to term is a life-altering thing. Raising a child changes a woman’s life in ways none of us males can even comprehend. And deciding to terminate the clump of cells within her Fallopian tube or uterus is a choice women agonize over. The idea that there are scads of women running around getting pregnant every half hour and then blithely submitting to abortion after abortion is as false as saying every grown man is a child molester or all politicians are crooks.
It’s a simplistic, non-thinking take on a complicated world.
A rational person must be compelled to call for our state legislatures to enact laws mandating the prosecution and criminal punishment of all women who choose to undergo an abortion. It’s murder, isn’t it?
I wonder how far that would get the anti-abortion state senators and representatives. It might cost those politicians votes. Many votes, inasmuch as a majority of the American electorate is in favor of maintaining a woman’s right to abort.
We all agree murder is a crime. We don’t all agree abortion is murder. Even the lawmakers restricting or outright banning abortion understand that.