Bet you didn’t know that.
There’s an infamous video out there — I’ve probably linked to it before — in which anti-choice activists are interviewed. ALL of them say that abortion should be made a crime. But when asked "If abortions become a crime, then what should the punishment be for women who have abortions (i.e., commit that "crime")?
Almost all of the people interviewed react as if they haven’t even considered the consequences of what they are advocating, and many of them openly admit "Gee, I hadn’t thought of that". Watch it.
But while these anti-choice protesters may be clearly underinformed, some in the anti-choice establishment have a ready answer.
Enter Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. His answer to the question is that the only doctor should be punished, because the woman who seeks out the abortion is too “impaired” to be responsible for her actions.
I]f abortion were made illegal and he were a state legislator, Land said, “I would probably charge voluntary manslaughter for the abortionist. If [a doctor] were convicted, he would lose his medical license for two years and spend a year in prison with the first offense, and with the second offense, he would lose his medical license for life. At which point it’d be very difficult to find a doctor who’d do them.”
Such a legal stance is tantamount to “ignoring or infantilizing women, turning them into ‘victims’ of their own free will,” [Anna] Quindlen wrote. “State statutes that propose punishing only a physician suggest the woman was merely some addled bystander who happened to find herself in the wrong stirrups at the wrong time.”
Land doesn’t deny that women who have abortions might be addled, but he, along with Yoest, Earll, and Gans, takes exception to them being described as bystanders — or as enlightened women making free, educated choices.
“It’s not demeaning to assume that any person who is a mother who could make the decision to do this must be suffering from some form of psychological impairment because of the crisis of the pregnancy or because of societal demeaning of human life,” Land said.
That last quote is simply, and morally, wrong. It IS demeaning to make that assumption. It IS demeaning to say "Well, just because women won’t make the same choice as me regarding abortion, they must be undergoing some psychological impairment."
And to ASSUME that is the situation for ALL women who choose to undergo abortions? Equally demeaning.
And while we’re at it, why doesn’t that argument work outside the context of abortions? Why couldn’t we say, "Well, anyone who commits murder must have psychological impairment, so we should just prosecute the gun makers, and not the actual assailants?"
Pastor Dan of Street Prophets has the only sane response to this sort of insane drivel:
Look, one either has moral agency or one doesn’t. If there’s agency, then an illegal act is a crime. If not, then not. But to write off an entire class of women as mentally ill – if only temporarily – because they make a decision you don’t approve of? That doesn’t fit any moral framework I’m aware of. Nor does the outmoded idea that estrogen makes you crazy or the risible theory that society brainwashes women into killing their children.
He’s right. All of this is madness; what it does do is pull back the curtain of the real agenda of the anti-choice crowd — controlling the sexuality of women by insinuating they are not capable of ethical, moral or practical decisions about their lives.
It is often said (especially by feminists) that laws attempting to curb abortions aren’t really intended to curb abortions but rather to regulate sexuality of women. This only proves that theory. If the anti-choice crowd were serious about criminalizing abortions (i.e. if abortion really IS "murder"), then they would penalize and jail women who have them. The fact that they can’t bring themselves to do this, and instead fictionalize women as "unable to control their own thought processes", only shows the transparent moral hollowness of their position.