Abortion enthusiast, Anna Quindlen, recently wrote an article for Newsweek Magazine in which she raised the issue of what the punishment should be for women who have abortions once they are again illegal. Her claim was that this is a question for which the pro-life movement has no answer. Of course, she is lying since most of the pro-life movement’s leaders have addressed this issue many times, over many years. The only problem is that, like the rest of our enemies, she just doesn’t like the answer.
Having said that, however, I will agree to take the bait and go down this dusty trail one more time. So here it goes.
While some of my fellow pro-lifers feel that jailing women who submit to illegal abortions is necessary to be consistent with the pro-life principle, most seem to agree with me that there is no practical incentive for doing so. Our view is that, for several pragmatic reasons, future laws against abortion should concentrate on the abortionist just as they did before Roe v. Wade.
To begin with, except in the extremely unlikely event that a woman is actually caught in the act of having an illegal abortion, a conviction would be virtually impossible to obtain. In addition, the woman is the best source of information and evidence needed to convict the abortionist. If she faced prosecution, she would never admit to the abortion. That would make it almost impossible for the state to get the evidence needed to convict the abortionist and leave him free to kill again.
This doesn’t excuse the woman for having participated in an illegal act. It simply recognizes that the public interest is best served by removing the abortionist from society, and that legal sanctions against the woman would reduce the chances of that happening. It’s no different than the authorities granting immunity to a small-time drug user in exchange for information on a big-time drug dealer. Remember, the goal of the pro-life movement is to stop abortion. Imprisoning a woman who had an illegal abortion would prevent nothing since her child is already dead, but imprisoning the abortionist might save thousands of babies in the future. If giving women a pass on prosecution is the best way to make that happen, that is a deal worth making.
We should also consider that, given the shortage and expense of jail space in America, it makes no sense to incarcerate a woman who had one abortion when that same cell could hold an abortionist who might do them by the thousands. And let there be no mistake about it, jail is precisely where abortionists deserve to be. Their customers may or may not be fully aware of what they are doing, but no such defense can be made for them. When they pull those tiny arms and legs and heads out of women, they know for a fact that they are committing the most brutal of murders. I offer no apology for saying that there is not one person sitting in a prison cell anywhere in the world who committed an act worse than performing abortions. Furthermore, not one of those people victimized someone as helpless as an unborn baby. So not only are abortionists contract killers with the morals of sewer rats, they are cowards as well.
When discussing this punishment issue, something very curious inevitably creeps into the conversation. Although some pro-lifers argue for imprisoning women who submit to abortion, the people most adamant that this is the only rational policy are those who call themselves pro-choice. Like many other things they do, this exposes their cynicism and hypocrisy. On one hand, they try to frighten women with the suggestion that pro-lifers are going to have them tossed into jail. When we make it clear that we have no such intention, their response is to say that if we don’t call for women to be jailed the only conclusion is that even we are not really convinced of our position. It is classic abortion industry double-talk.
Now, I have a suggestion for the Anna Quindlens of the world that will resolve this whole issue. If these people think it’s unfair for only abortionists to be targeted, let them be the ones to lobby for legislation to put the women in jail. If instead of helping women facing unplanned pregnancies find alternatives to illegal abortions, the Choice Mafia would prefer to seek legislation to put them in prison, my gut feeling is that they will find little legislative support for it. But we’ll see. In the mean time, while they look for the best way to put all their customers in jail, those of us in the pro-life movement will focus on finding the fastest way to stop the killing.