This is the generation that will abolish abortion

What Would The Punishment Be If Abortion Were Illegal?

This is probably one of the toughest questions to answer as a pro-lifer and I fully expect to receive a lot of hate mail about this commentary. I have had this discussion with many people who have solid pro-life views, yet are confused as to how they feel about the laws and punishment when it comes to abortion. People ask me what happens to the women and doctors if we overturn Roe. vs Wade.

My first response is that the end goal of the pro-life movement is not over turning Roe vs Wade. We absolutely want that to happen, however, that is only the first step. Overturning Roe will only send the decision back to the individual states for them to pass laws. Most likely any law passed by a state will then be challenged in court and end up right back to the Supreme Court. 

The end goal is to establish that life begins at the moment of fertilization. This will only be achieved with a paramount Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. With a Human Life Amendment we can establish the starting point in a human persons life that cannot be challenged by any court. This will give children in the womb the same rights and protections under the Constitution as any other human person.

This is where the dilemma of the question begins. Do you truly believe that a child in the womb is a full human person? Do you believe that the unborn child is equal in value as a three year old child playing on a playground? As a pro-life advocate I do not see how you could answer no to either of those questions.

The core of the pro-life argument is that every single human person from fertilization to natural death should be protected. If we say that the child in the womb is a human person and that their life is already begun, then how can we say they should not be protected equally?

The problem comes when we look at this from the wrong direction. Whenever I debate someone who is defending abortion the first thing they try and do is steer the argument onto rabbit trails. They will bring up all of the emotional situations and try to only argue from the extreme cases. They do this because they know if they can tug the heart strings of those in the audience they can sway them and distract them from the truth.

The same thing happens when I discuss the issue of punishment for abortion with pro-lifers. They talk about the desperate women who knows it is illegal but can’t afford her baby? They ask if she should really be held accountable for just trying to make a hard decision? We have no way of knowing what is going on in her life or what she is going through.

I admit there is an emotional element to this that can blur the issue. I know that no one wants to go throwing thousands of women in prison. It is sincerely a tough question.

Lets change the direction we look at this however. Just like in my debates against pro-abortion advocates, I would steer away from the distractions and focus on the core issue. What is abortion? Abortion is the killing of a human person. Just like stabbing a three old on a playground is killing a human person, stabbing a baby in the womb is also killing a human person.

If we establish a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution declaring that children are full human persons from the moment of fertilization, then we must treat them as such.

When the woman in Texas drowned her five children several years ago, what was your thought on her punishment? Did you believe because she had some rough times at home she should be excused from what she did? The fact is, she killed her five children and had to answer to the law. While we might feel sorry for her emotional state, we must also want justice for the five children who were killed.

In the same way, we must look at the children in the womb as equal in value as the children who were drowned and demand justice for them also. We can certainly feel empathy for what a woman might be going through, however, that cannot change the fact that she has broken the law and ended the life of her child. We know there is forgiveness is Christ, but justice must also be served. 

If we make a separate law and separate punishment for someone who has an abortion then we are saying that the child in the womb is somehow not as valuable then any other human person killed. If we say that intentionally killing one child is less of a crime then intentionally killing another child, then our whole argument for life is destroyed.

I know many of you are probably upset right now or even confused or torn about what you think. I understand completely. I have spent over 20 years thinking about this question and going over every possible way to look at it. The one constant thing that I always come back to is the fundamental right to life of every human person, and I will not stop fighting until every child is protected.

What do you think?

65 Comments

  1. Posted June 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi Brian,
    I still wear your ‘Justice for all’ t-shirt and hoody though I’m now 36. I think that we should serve a shorter sentence for someone who has had an abortion than for a child murderer, because cold-heartedness is a factor in deciding sentence length. Someone who stabs a child can clearly see with their own eyes that this is a child so has to be more cold hearted than someone who only knows intellectually that their is a child within their womb, and may not even know that. This has nothing to do with the child being worth less in the womb, and everything to do with the state of mind of the person doing or arranging the killing. This is just my opinion, and I might change it tomorrow!
    God bless your work

    David

  2. Ross S. Heckmann
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Like you, Brian, I believe in the equal protection of the laws for unborn children. The law must protect the lives of unborn children and those already born to the same extent, and with the same punishments for taking those lives. Equal protection must be our ultimate goal. That being said, the following may be conceded: (1) it must be taken into account that there will by cases where it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the mother had the criminal state of mind to commit a pre-natal murder. As a practical matter, it will be easier to raise a reasonable doubt about the criminal state of mind (technically referred to as “mens rea”) in the case of a pre-natal killing than in the case of one already born. (2) abortions are generally done through hit-men, often referred to as “abortionists.” It is far more important to stop the abortionist than anything else. As a practical matter, it may be necessary to grant immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against the abortionist. (3) criminal law enforcement doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Rightly or wrongly, if the majority of people don’t agree that killing an unborn child should be punished equally to the killing of one already born, then the effort to equally protect the life of the unborn child will be stymied throughout the process: police won’t arrest, district attorneys won’t prosecute, trial court judges will throw out or sabotage cases, juries will refuse to convict, and appellate courts will reverse judgments of conviction. That is why I refer to equal protection as an ultimate goal. The law should maybe be a little bit ahead of public opinion, but if it gets too far ahead, then it will be a dead letter (like the prohibition of alcohol was).

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Well written!

    • Nathan
      Posted April 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Heckmann, I respectfully disagree with your position that women should be granted immunity in exchange for testifying against the doctor(s) who performed the abortion. If someone -let’s call him Sam- was to arrange to have another person -Ezra- killed, and hires a hitman -Bob- to do so, Sam buys a gun, gives it to Bob and Bob kills Ezra; in this case Sam would be considered guilty of murder even though he did not personally kill Ezra.
      If the law states that life begins at conception, a women who chooses to have an abortion is logically the same as Sam, she is the primary actor responsible for deciding on, planning and arranging the murder of her baby, the doctors are secondary actors insofar as they are not involved until the women has decided upon abortion (premeditation) and sought them out (criminal intent).
      Immunity should not be offered to the primary actor solely in order to convict the secondary actors.

  3. Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    This is such a great question. In all honesty I don’t know what to even suggest. However, I feel a lot of the punishment should be on the doctor. Imagine a teen boy can look for an easy way to get muscles “Doc, can you give me steroids?” But it’s the dr.’s job to say no. Just the same as a frightened teenage girl may seek abortion. It is ultimately the doctor who says yes or no. However, I do think that if an abortion is performed both parties should be punished- I just don’t know to what extreme. However, I would hate the punishment to be anything less than what another person would get for murder, BECAUSE if it is less- then we (the courts) are saying that life IN the womb is less important than life outside of the womb…and that would be a terrible thing to settle for!

  4. Daniel
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    If we are going to go on the basis that humans life begins at conception and that there is dignity in every human life we must treat this for the crime that it is. Murder in the first degree. It is no less than infanticide. 30-60 years or so, if not life imprisonment.

    • Jonathan
      Posted September 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      If we agree that abortion is first degree murder and no less than infanticide than how can you suggest a mere 30 or 60 years or even life imprisonment? The 30-60 years doesn’t go anywhere near far enough to adequately bring justice for that unborn child that has been snuffed out in a premeditated way by it’s own mother. Life imprisonment on the other hand starts to punish all of society (those paying taxes anyway) for the crime instead of the people who are being imprisoned. The solution is simple..life for a life..blood for blood. 1st Degree Murder’s punishment should be death..the one killing another human being has forfeited their life by the taking of a life. The Doctor performing the abortion is guilty of being a co-conspirator with the mother being the originator of that conspiracy to commit murder. At the very least the doctor should be stripped of their medical license and face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole but the mother..like someone who hired an assassin to kill someone she would be sentenced to death. Of course in order to be an effective deterrent the punishment should be carried out swiftly with at most one appeal (but then there should be more than enough DNA evidence to convince a second jury to convict her just like the first one did) and then sentence carried out.

      • Annie
        Posted November 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        But then, we the people,become murderers too.
        I am happy to pay taxes for a reform. People find
        Salvation in prison more often than we think. Also,
        For the same reason I don’t believe it right to take the
        Life of an unborn child, the same feeling is of those
        Who are in prison with life sentences and sentences
        Of death. We are not god and we do not get to take or
        Give life…. It’s gods plan.

  5. Noelle
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I was asked this question about a week ago.. I found the same conclusion you did. If you believe that life is in the womb, then abortion is ending a life. Ending a life is murder and should be punished as so. It’s a horrible thought that so many people just today could be charged for murder, but that does not change that abortion is murder.

    Though, my views are limited. I believe life to begin at the first moment a heart beats. Not sperm meeting ovum.
    The heart begins beating at 18-21 days after conception. But I would still prefer abortion be illegal, no matter what the gestational age of the baby.

    • Don
      Posted September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      The heartbeat rule permits euthanizing people whose heart has stopped beating. We know from experience that people can live for years after their heart has stopped beating, as long as their heart is restarted within a few minutes. If we stand up for life from beginning to end, we must be careful how we define life. At the moment of conception there is a human life that did not exist prior to that moment. No other moment contains a change drastic enough to warrant calling that moment the beginning of life.

  6. BobL
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    In my mind, the ultimate goal of the Pro-Life movement is to cause a societal change-of-heart, so that abortion is never even considered as an option, whether medical, surgical, or via “contraceptive” measures. Obviously that is unlikely–murder is obviously viewed by reasonable people as “not an option”, but we still have thousands each year.

    That being the case, a human life amendment would be the best option. Punishment, however, would have to be assigned similarly to killing a born person, with lesser (or no) charges for inadvertent or unintentional killing (manslaughter, in essence), consideration in sentencing for state-of-mind, and greater charges for “pay-t0-kill” (the abortionists).

  7. Joel
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    So many people freak out by things like this, but where is the outrage when a mother who has kids is sent to prison for 12 years for selling weed?

    I agree the same charge and recognition of life should be given, but I think the courts should take a different approach to punishment for abortion.

  8. Bornagain Seeker
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Brian,

    I agree with your stance for the majority. I think however that the mother should also be charged with assisted murder and solicitation of murder along with or maybe in place of the murder charge. The doctor should be charged with murder, and any crimes that come with taking money to kill someone.

    My position is basically let the law deal with the broken laws, counselors to deal with the emotion turmoils, and pastors to deal with spiritual turmoils. For the trial, the defendant should not be denied any of the rights of accused. Consider normal plea bargaining procedures for murder. Let the states set the penalty(with a federal minimum and maximum) and handle the trials.

    One thing I would say that might be quite controversial, is that I believe the death penalty should be an option after a certain number of abortions accepted or performed. I would say that the states could also set this, as they are already allowed to choose whether or not to have a death penalty.

    I look at this not from a religious issue, but I look at it from a human rights issue. That is the only view the government is allowed to take and enforce. However, with yesterday’s Supreme court ruling on the affordable care act, they do not seem to have too much care for the protection of human rights.

  9. Shannon E
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    If the person had an abortion while it was legal, there should not be a punishment. But once the act is made illegal, if someone finds a “black market” doctor to perform an abortion, I think it should be the same punishment as those that kill infants by shaking them or abusing them, which ranges from state to state. The doctor should be punished by losing their license (obtained by swearing they would protect all life) and sentenced similarly to an arms or drug dealer or murderer.

    Regardless of how I feel about it, there will be issues with this line of thought until Americans feel negatively about all abortion on the whole. Civil rights, women’s rights, etc., all succeeded based upon the sway of public opinion. That is why it would be very difficult to pass this sort of law at this point. There are a significant portion of Americans that believe abortion should be legal. The highest achievement for the pro-life movement would be that no one condones abortion because most all believe it is wrong, no abortions are occurring, and no law is needed to counter it. Sadly, concern about oneself overrides choosing motherhood for some women facing unwanted pregnancy enough that they look to abortion. I have had enough friends that have regretted their abortions and I do not see an upside to the act.

  10. Deborah Quinn
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I must say this. If an abortion is committed then the actualy person who killed the unborn child should be punished. I would not say a woman is necessarily accountable because when I was nineteen and had an abortion, I actually did not believe that I was pregnant. I was somehow impregnated by someone that was supposed to be sterile but my fear of my father and the abusive man that impregnated me pushed me to go to have an abortion but I can’t see how since I was only nineteen and did not have the understanding at the time of how the body works and because I was lied to about the person who said he was sterile and the fact that I am not medically trained I think that the people invovled with providing the murder and were the ones who with theirn hands killed my child I think they definately need to be held accountable for the murder of my baby.

    • Rachael Walt
      Posted March 29, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Double standards are not Biblical. Embracing a double standard to escape punishment is doubly so. Deal with the guilt you so clearly have and find the strength to face the punishment you so readily want to heap upon others.

    • Megan
      Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Deborah,

      I cannot fathom how a nineteen year old woman doesn’t understand her body. Isn’t that the issue you’re fighting? You sign forms for these procedures. It is entirely your responsibility to know the impact. It’s like getting a piercing or tattoo, it’s not the technician’s fault if you didn’t educate yourself on what the procedure entailed.

    • Zoe
      Posted April 1, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Sorry Deborah but I do not see how you think the person who carried out the abortion should be held for murder when it is YOUR body and you knew exactly what was going on. You are the one that went forward with it knowing what was going to happen, therefore it is your own fault. I am not saying I do or do not agree with abortion as I know some woman have absolutely no choice but when I see comments such as the one you made it makes me realise abortions should be given only in severe cases and to people well educated on the subject. Just think, if that ‘murderer’ who carried out your abortion said NO, you would have a baby right now or you would have had to give birth and give it away to someone else.

  11. Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Americans are too fixated on punishment, as witnessed by our tremendously high per capita rate of imprisonment of our citizens. HOWEVER, having said that, I would say that the person performing the abortion is the DOER and the mother is an accomplice. Naturally, the person who actually performs the procedure would get a much stiffer sentence. They are the person actually performing the procedure that kills the child. Doctors will get out of this game really fast if you yank their license to practice medicine (forever) and make them do some jail time. BUT, while I agree that abortions should not be available and that the fact of their ability gives societal assent to the act, I see very clearly that we are focused on the end result of a LONG chain of events that begins with (usually) sex outside of marriage. We need to be addressing the root cause which is that women WANT to kill their children! If no one wanted an abortion, it would not matter if it was legal. There would be no ‘takers’ and the abortion mills would shut down.

  12. Marcella Franseen
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of the same arguments used against African Americans. Here are many that were thrown at the abolitionist:
    These people (blacks) are not people like you and I are (whites) and do not have the same rights we do.
    You (abolitionists) are not concerned with blacks, you are only concerned with bringing down the South and southern plantations. You are power hungry.
    Do you really expect us to immediately emancipate a bunch of black slaves who cannot read or write? Do you know what that will do to society?
    Black slavery is Christian and loving. Blacks are not people like us (whites). They cannot take care of themselves.
    What would happen to the white slave owners? What about their families, their homes, their land, their livelihoods? Emancipating black slaves is destructive and callous toward the white slave owners who depend on the institution of slavery for their very life.
    The issue of slavery at that time was complicated, emotional, and charged but it didn’t change the fact that it was wrong to strip black human beings of the title, “Full human being,” in order to make them property of any one. It is the same with the unborn. No one should be able to premeditate the destruction of life in the womb because unborn babies are not property but full human beings.
    That being said, I do believe any human life amendment needs to include protection against the government taking over the birth process meaning the government should not be able to tell a woman whether she can have c-section or natural birth, or whether she will give birth in hospital with a Doctor or in a birthing center with a Doula, or whether or not she can pursue life saving treatments for things like cancer that could put baby in jeopardy. Women should have as much freedom as possible in regards to bearing children but taking human life is not a freedom…ever.
    Thanks for your work on behalf of the unborn and their families.

  13. Ruth
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I agree with you, but I do not believe that the millions of women that have had abortions since it was legalized should go to jail. Most of these women were deceived into believing they were not human, but if it becomes illegal they should have to deal with the consequences of their choices, knowing full well the risks involved in doing this thing.

    • khan
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Why should the women who sought to have their babies killed not be punished, or at least publicly shamed>?

      • Al Grayson
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Justice Harry Blackmun asked the same thing:

        “It has already been pointed out, n. 49, supra, that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified by Art. 1195 is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by Art. 1257 of the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?” — Roe v Wade, n. 54, 410 US 113

        No state has been willing to treat unborn persons as being equal before the law to born persons. Are Anti-Abortion Activists willing? AAA, if you were on a trial jury in which a woman was charged with first degree murder for having her unborn offspring killed, would you vote “guilty” if you knew the same penalty as for murdering a born person was likely to be applied?

  14. Colleen
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I read this and 100% agree. This did not make me angry or confused. Facts are facts. Very well put. And you are correct in stating that people always steer away & try to argue a specific scenario for the woman, with No concern of the human being inside. The child inside did not make the choice, the woman did . . . or man in the case of rape. Thanks for posting this 🙂

  15. Katy Tucker
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Hi everyone. As I thought about this question, I realized how it had never crossed my mind. I am Pro-life and I plan to stay that way. I completely disaggree with people who throw violent protests in front of abortion clinics and do such horrible things to those women because, as a strong Christian we’re supposed to be examples unto ALL believers. We should show love, compassion and stop and think about the other person. Can you imagine what she may be going through? It’s the same as not showing love and support to a homosexual person. No matter how much we don’t agree with their actions, we must show love. Jesus says to in many different examples from the bible. God still loves them, no matter the extent of their sin. Sin is sin. Lying, cheating, murdering, and stealing are all the same in God’s eyes. It’s just sin but God still loves them. Now, I do think that abortion should be abolished and that it’s completely wrong to have abortion be an option to women. That is such a precious gift from God and that oppurtunity of a beautiful, well lived life should be available to all people. So, how would punishment come along if it were to become illegal? First, I think offering support to the women who have had an abortion. While this may be a tad diffucult, I believe that support and love is needed to be shown to those women. If there were abortions available under the table (so to say), I think the person should be fined and the doctor stripped of his license. I do like Shannon E’s point (located above). Thank you.

    • Megan
      Posted October 9, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Katy,

      You will probably never see this because it’s years later. I’m concerned with the religious sector of Pro-Life. We may all have a different belief system. I would assume that since you believe life begins at conception, you have different opinion on when life ends than medical professionals. If we say life ends when brain activity ceases, then wouldn’t the opposite be true for when life begins? We cannot say whether or not fertilization will result in a birth, but if a pregnancy was terminated prior to brain activity, could we consider it a life? I do not believe in late term abortions, but I think there should be a serious understanding of what a law like this could bring upon those unwanted children. If I didn’t want a child, I don’t think that’s a home a child should be brought into. With the number of children waiting to be adopted, I don’t understand where the 42 million additional adoptors would materialize from. We don’t even have the infrastructure to help. We wouldn’t have enough people to feed and care for these children. Look up the study on children who aren’t touched or spoken too enough, now that’s heartbreaking.

  16. Alexandra
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I believe in the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Should have never been a law. I believe the woman and the Abortionist should be punished but the woman less severely than the person doing the abortion. The person who is doing the abortion should get at least 50+ years. The Woman having the abortion should get at least 20 years. (still undecided on this fact.) Also the Woman should not be able to conceive any more children. But if she did she would have to remain under the care of the state for the whole nine months of pregnancy and during delivery. After delivery she would be able to see and hold the baby for a few seconds. Then the state would take the baby and a nice couple could adopt a nice child but the woman should not have another child since she had already killed one child even though it is in the womb she is still killing the child. The Abortionist his licence should be revoked and not be able to do abortions or any other medical procedure, thus making it harder for people to get abortions. All abortionists should have their licence revoked. But they can do another medical procedure just not abortions. This is what i feel like should happen. We need to fight harder for the Unborn who can not raise their voices and fight for themselves and try out damnest to overturn Roe V. Wade.

  17. Mary Therese Egizio
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I had a thought awhile back all these comments talk of the mother..and abortionist.. I thought that long before we can stop abortion the Men have to be involved. I do not think any woman (girl) should be allowed to have an abortion with out a male being present.. at the desk, in the waiting room, in the operating room watching and having to assist in identifying all the baby parts etc.. just like cutting the cord a birth. It is his child or grandchild he should have to stand up. In cases of Rape it would have to be who ever is forcing her to have the abortion and it may be a Mom, Dad or sibling. Doctors ( and now it doesn’t even have to be a Doc doing the abortion) or the Tech should be punished for murder. Lose their licenses and never be able to practice any medicine again ever! This isn’t malpractice or a medical error this is murder.

  18. Kevin
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Mary Therese, I quite agree that the men involved should be included. Not only because, as you state, many of them are just as responsible for the abortions as the women procuring them. Also because abortion has been falsely cast as a “women-only” issue in which men are frequently considered unentitled to a voice (even though half the victims of abortion are male). Often, men want to save their children but under the twisted, evil law have no power to do anything but sit there doing nothing while their sons and daughters are torn apart and thrown in the garbage. And that’s IF anyone even bothers to let them know they have children who are going to be murdered. Men are always getting grief on account of the minority who are bad fathers and fail to support their families, yet society also tells them they’re not allowed to be considered fathers unless the mothers agree to let them be, or decide to obligate them.

  19. Lori Resch
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Having had an abortion, for many years after, I believed the only way to atone for my crime was to be imprisoned. I know now there is no atonement I can do, only accept the forgiveness offered from the cross. Would have spending time in prison led me to this acknowledgement sooner with less pain inflicted on others, as I tried to justify my crime. I can not say, but when Abortion is illegal in this country I will pray for those who are called to act and do so with Godly justice and for the lost souls to know this justice is our Father’s mercy and love.

  20. Mountain
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    I am not reading the comments for fear of being disappointed by my prolife friends. You commentary was well written and the only valid stance that can be taken. An emotional mother who kills her baby after birth is already treated different than the career criminal who kills an adult in a premeditated crime when it comes to sentancing. Our flawed justice system should do the best it can to punish anyone who intentionally killed another human being. An abortionist if caught should be treated like the mass murder he/she is. Hearts and minds need to be win to truly make a difference but in our secular society the has a lot of sway over hearts and minds.

  21. Posted September 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Hey Brian –

    I saw your note about prosecutions after Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are overturned. Two responses, if I may – one about prosecutions, and the other about a question lurking in the background.

    Before 1973, all 50 states had wrestled with the question of what to do about prosecuting a highly paid and highly qualified and highly respected professional (a doctor), and also what to do about prosecuting anyone else involved in taking the life of another human being. Before 1967, all 50 states had laws protecting babies, although some changed their laws before Roe v. Wade. But all 50 states thought about the question that pro-abortion people are throwing at you – and all 50 gave the same answer. This ultra-clever question that your opponents are throwing at you is an ignorant question, historically speaking – it was answered over and over for decades, by legislators in all 50 states. And as I say, all gave the same answer.

    The person who explained it to me was a prosecutor before 1973. He put at least one abortionist behind bars; I think he prosecuted several and put several in prison, but I don’t remember clearly. (It’s in NRL News, sometime in 1980.) The prosecutor was Senator Tom Eagleton. Eagleton was a pro-life Democrat before the Republican Party hijacked the pro-life movement and started driving out liberals. Eagleton was a VP candidate briefly, running with McGovern – not exactly the most conservative person in politics. He was tossed off the ticket when news broke that he had been treated for depression. McGovern backed him 1,000% for a day or two, and then replaced him with Sargent Shriver. But Eagleton was a highly respected Senator, from the left wing of the Democratic Party. He entered political office on the strength of his work as a prosecutor, including jailing abortionists.

    What Eagleton said was simple. When a child has been killed, you could theoretically prosecute either one of two people – the mother or the abortionist. The abortionist is likely to kill another 10,000 times if you don’t take him off the streets. The mother: not so. And you are pretty sure, most of the time, that the mom is already beating herself up; you don’t need to punish her any more than she is punishing herself. That’s not always true, but generally. Further, you can be pretty sure from the outset that the mother was highly upset when she had the abortion – this is not an excuse, but it is a factor to weigh when considering any response. The abortionist, on the other hand, was not emotionally involved, came into a situation in which the mom was in pain, offered help, and made everything worse. For this, he got paid. So which one should you prosecute? Probably, you will need the testimony of one to prosecute the other. Every prosecutor in every state for 100 years did the same thing: this is a no-brainer.

    Rep. Millicent Fenwick (D, NJ) once said that if RvW were reversed, people like you, Brian, would go back to prosecuting women for back-alley abortions. I asked her for the name of any women who had been prosecuted for a back-alley abortion, any time, in American history. She responded quickly, with class and honesty: she had mis-spoken. She could not name anyone.

    Your oh-so-clever questioners are asking an ignorant question, historically speaking. This is not a new question. Every state in the Union dealt with it in the past, and all came up – ALL – with the same answer.

    Brian, a second matter. This may be a bridge too far, but let me respond to the idea that the next big step for the pro-life movement is a change in the law (court decisions, amendment, state laws, etc). Here’s my problem. 99.999% of the pro-life movement is currently committed to a strategy that is total nonsense, guaranteed to fail – and fail, and fail, permanently. The strategy – educate, then legislate – sounds sweet, but has never worked anywhere in the world, ever. In the recorded history of the globe, there has never been a case of an entrenched evil reversed or ended by a campaign of education followed by a campaign to change the law by legislation or court decision.

    The example that people point to, most often, is Britain and slavery. God bless Wilberforce and his followers! They did a great thing. However, slavery was not a problem in England. It existed, but it was rare. Slavery was an evil scourge in the British EMPIRE, but not the British Isles. By wars of conquest, Britain took control of the lives and laws of other people. Wilberforce was able to get the British to end slavery ELSEWHERE. That is, the people who voted against slavery did not own slaves. They ended someone else’s evil, not their own.

    There are only two ways to end a deeply entrenched evil in a society, according to the tough lessons of history: war, or a campaign of nonviolence. (In ages past, before Gandhi, campaigns of nonviolence were called periods of persecution and martyrdom.)

    If you are serious about ending abortion, and are serious about doing something that might work, the educate-to-legislate idea does not stand up to any scrutiny.

    I’d advise against war. The problem is global, not national. Recall: the end of legal protection for American babies (the so-called “legalization” of abortion) began with an abortion in Sweden – when Sherri Finkbine (the Mr. Rogers of the 1950s) had a eugenic abortion in Sweden, after taking thalidomide during her pregnancy. If it’s global, you need some serious allies. Who would help end abortion globally by war? Well, al Qaeda is one place to start. So maybe after 10-20 seconds of clear thought (maybe less, but let’s be patient), we can all agree to abandon the idea of ending abortion by violence.

    That leaves one option. If you aren’t working to build a campaign of nonviolence to end abortion, you aren’t doing anything serious to end the slaughter. There are thousands of good things to do in the mean time; you can save a lot of lives without pretending that you see your way clear to ending all abortion, making it about as common and acceptable as cannibalism. But a strategy to end it – well, there aren’t a lot of options. In fact, there aren’t two options. And educate-to-legislate isn’t it.

    A serious campaign of nonviolence can’t be built with a silly smirk – with half-ass remarks equating nonviolence with avoiding lethal violence, or saying you might prefer nonviolence but would respect the choices that others make. Nonviolence is a pro-active force requiring serious discipline.

    Enough. Brian, you are an honest and admirable guy. I am very grateful to God for all that you do.

    John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe

    • Al Grayson
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Nonviolence won’t deter abortion effectively. Some will be deterred by moral appeals. What is important is who applies the violence. If private individuals use force to defend the innocent, and the innocent have been outlawed (put out of the protection of the law), the state will punish, even murder, that defender of the innocent from the murderer. What is necessary is for the state, the government, to use violence as necessary to bring murderers to justice.
      Abortionist detected. Police kick in door, arrest everyone inside, haul them off to jail. Any pull guns on the police, shot down. Prosecution ensues. Upon due proof, the murderers and the accomplices are convicted of appropriate crimes. The murderers are sentenced according to the gravity of their offense. The aborting mother: life in prison with possibility of parole. The professional hit-wo/man: death, or in non-death penalty states, life in prison without possibility of parole. The accomplices: as repeat offenders, life in prison with or without possibility of parole as deemed appropriate by the court under the law.
      With the same penalties as for murder of the born, few would perpetrate abortion. Few professional abortionists would ply their nefarious trade.
      Criminals generally justify themselves in their own sight. They do to others what they would not have others do unto them. They want an exception made for them. The aborting mother does not want to be killed. She, or those who are coercing her, want to kill the baby.

  22. John Muehlhausen
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the punishment should be that the father is convicted of murder. That should steer men clear of inappropriate advances that start women down this path.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Married women perpetrate abortions of children begotten by their lawful husbands. Not all husbands pressure their wives to have their children killed. Some wives do it over the objection of their husbands.
      A father may have committed fornication, or rape, but that does not compel the mother to kill the child that she generated in her womb. One of the more nonsensical retorts I have seen. Totally unjust.

      • Jeff
        Posted April 1, 2016 at 1:12 am | Permalink

        Are you insane? Let me give you a scenario: A forty year old woman is raped in a parking garage on her way home from work. She has a husband, two children, and two grandchildren. No criminal record and no history of nefariousness. She and her husband decide to abort the child of the rapist. Here, in Florida, the penalty for murder can carry life in prison or the death penalty. So you would execute a married mother of two for aborting the unborn child of a rapist? Additionally, in some states the rapist father can sue for visitation rights of the child. What if it were a fourteen year old that was raped? You would force her to carry the child to term and then require that they see the rapist every other week for the next eighteen years? Would you also be willing to support said fourteen year old child as she raises her own child?
        Or, John Muehlhausen, would you also kill the father of the two ‘legitimate’ children? Thus leaving the family not as four people, mother, father, son, daughter but as simply the two children with murdered parents?

  23. Audrey
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    If a direct entry midwife, in a state where it’s illegal for them to practice, is caught catching a baby, it’s a felony for them. Even though they are not harming anyone (or in the case of a non preventable death, not negligent). The mother does not get punished. I think it’s a sad testimony to our lost society that they cannot do this, yet, a doctor can murder legally. The abortionist should be charged with murder, and the mother as an accessory.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s still not illegal to give birth. I have been a “direct entry” (unlicensed) midwife to my own wife and children. We always make sure we’re in a state that doesn’t prosecute fathers for helping their own wives and children.
      An abortionist who has MD or DO licensing isn’t prosecuted for providing his/her professional serivces. If she/he perpetrates an illegal abortion, prosecution isn’t for being an unlicensed practitioner but for the illegal abortion. DE midwives are not prosecuted for aiding mothers and babies with birth, but for providing their services without having the license or certification that the state requires.

  24. Daniel Fowley
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    So lets look at the future reality. State and government has declared that life begins at conception and abortion across 50 states is considered murder. Planned parenthood and every other abortion clinic stops doing abortions. Now a woman wants to have an abortion. What Does she do? She goes through shady back ally type doctors to murder the child. She is not walking into a clinic where she is being convinced it is a fetus. Every step of the way she knows what she is doing and every step of the way she knows whatever the penalty is if she is caught, she Will have to face it. My personal opinion in a post Roe v Wade world doctors should be convicted with first degree murder and throw away the key. Woman having abortion should be convicted of some form of murder, but I still really don’t know. Does anyone know what happens to women in Ireland if they have an abortion

    • Anne
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Your essay does not say what you think the woman’s punishment should be, but reading between the lines, apparently you think she should be killed. Appalling. I can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.

      • Posted July 9, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Do not think that at all, I am against the death penalty.

      • Al Grayson
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Why do you think it “appalling” that a murderess be punished the same for murdering a human being less than 9 months old (from conception) as for murdering a human being more than 9 months old?
        If (deceased) Supreme Court justice Blackmun, author of Roe, can see this conflict, why can “Pro-Lifers” and “Anti-Abortionists” not see it?
        Making a difference in the value of human beings who are alive and have not been born from those who are alive and have been born degrades the value the law places on certain readily identifiable classes of human beings. It’s been done with Blacks of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves. It’s been done with Jews. The unborn are the last “Untermenschen,” somewhat human but not fully, and therefore fit for exploitation or extermination by the born. And in each of these cases it was quite properly legal.

  25. Fugazi
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    This is an interesting article, though it doesn’t really address the actual question, as usual it skirts around the hard fact that if abortion were to be made illegal and as such become the crime of murder the full penalties of the various states could be used.
    Another point is what happens to all the women who had abortions while it was legal, given that there are no statute of limitations on murder and I am unsure whether ex post de facto arguments would work in murder cases, you could very well end up with a situation where millions of women are arrested and prosecuted even to the extent of being given the death penalty.
    For those of you who answered saying that the women should receive a lesser sentence as she is only an accomplice to the act, and to the specific poster who says that the issue has already been dealt with based on historical evidence I say, you are forgetting that some states impose the same penalty on the accomplice as they do to the person committing the crime .

    “At law, an accomplice has the same degree of guilt as the person he or she is assisting, is subject to prosecution for the same crime, and faces the same criminal penalties.”

    therefore if a judge were to follow the letter of the law they would have no option but to impose the same penalty on all involved.

    Further to other comments made in your article, it has been my experience of over 12 years debating the abortion issues that, for the most, it is the pro-life side that deal more in emotional blackmail … “Abortion is murder”, and “It is killing babies” both come to mind, which anyone with the slightest amount of medical and legal knowledge knows are erroneous comments. As it stands abortion is legal and therefore cannot be murder, on a personal level people may have the opinion that it is, but opinions aren’t facts, neither is the usage of the term “baby”, which is a medical term relating to a time-span from birth to approx one year. If pro-lifers want to be taken seriously then I would humble suggest they distance themselves from the emotional hyperbole currently used and attempt to use science to aid their cause, and what science (biology) tells us that it is not a “baby” it is a zygote, embryo or fetus.

    It is an interesting dilemma that pro-lifers have placed themselves in by proclaiming “abortion is murder”, one, as yet I have not seen an adequate answer to.

    • Disgusted
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for saying something intelligent. I was giving up hope on humanity. I think a lot of Pro-lifers want to pretend this is about “babies” when it’s really about punishing women for having sex outside of marriage. If they were so concerned about saving fetuses, the same group of people wouldn’t be so against contraception. They would support it because it prevents women from having to get abortions.

      • Padcarlos
        Posted October 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Contraception can cause abortions. They are not a good idea.

        • Al Grayson
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Contraception, first approved in “Christendom” in 1853, has the same motivation as abortion. The motivation for contraception is to have sexual relations for entertainment without procreation. Abortion is to catch those conceived during entertainment sex.
          Contraception is forbidden and condemned by orthodox Judaism.
          Contraception was forbidden and condemned by Christian writers from the earliest mentions. It was part of the practices taught by the gnostic sect called Manichaeism.
          Other religions forbid contraception. Certain Hindu sects specifically condemn contraception.
          It is at root of much immorality, both looking at public (social or societal) morals and at private morality.

    • Penny
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I would suggest you look up the origin of the words embryo and fetus.
      The willful and non defensive act of killing a person is murder, regardless of whether or not it is permitted by the government at the time. Ask a nizi soldier. The nazis followed orders by their government to murder over 6 million jews. The jews were stripped of their rights and it was not illegal to kill them, however during the trials it was deamed that the acts were in fact murder by definition. I am not for abortion personally, however I am against murder trials for these women. As a libertarian I have to put a womans liberty over her own body above that of anyone else. As someone who had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. A murder investigation or investigation into my life habits, my coffee consumption, general diet, exercise routine, would need to take place to ensure the baby didn’t die of some sort of preventable neglect. We would have to investigate every lost pregnancy. This would be a gross invasion of privacy, the closest equivalent i can think of, forcing woman to have rape kits and trials against their will. I don’t want to live where woman are brought to trial for losing a pregnancy.
      Peace.

  26. brettrueter
    Posted September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    A better question is “What will the future penalty be?’ , not from a stupid antipopulation government, but from GOOD. What has it permanently done to your family tree? Have you murdered your own future . Have we killed ourselves ??? The gift of everlasting life, Gone forever ? Survival of the fittest – Ooops. Are those who choose abortion suicidal ? Things to thought on.

  27. Andy
    Posted January 7, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    The problem with pro-lifers is that a person is NOT a person at fertilization. Think about it. Guys can masturbate and throw their sperm away (effectively killing them) and women lose an egg a month. Just because the two come together for a second does not mean a human being is born. A the moment of conception the embryo is nothing but a growing mass. It feels no pain when it is killed, it has no feelings and essentially would not exist had two people not have had sex. Removing a 3 week old embryo is like a man ejaculating into a napkin and flushing it in the toilet.

    Think of it this way. Removing the embryo is like two people not even having sex in the first place. There’s no harm in not having sex, so removing the product after sex shouldn’t be an issue either.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      “Person” in the English language means “human being.” — Oxford English Dictionary and others
      When does a human being become a person? When the human being becomes a human being.
      Sperm (Leeuweenhoek, 1677) were once believed to contain a complete embryo much like the seeds of plants. The ovum had not been discovered (mammalian, 1826; human ovum described 1928). More powerful microscopes revealed that there was no embryo inside the head of a sperm cell.
      The new individual comes into being when the genetic packet inside the head of the sperm meets with the genetic packet inside the nucleus of the ovum. Once the DNA of each matches up with the DNA of the other, the cells begin to divide. First 2, then 4, then 8. At this stage with a micro-knife the 8 cell organism can be divided into two 4 cell ones, which then, if not damaged, will then divide into two 8 cell organisms, from which two identical twins will develop if both stay alive. It is at this stage that we can say definitively that two individuals exist, for when the two 8 cell organisms divide into two 16 cell ones, no further dividing can be done as the cells have begun to differentiate.
      How about a mini-abortion at the 4 cell stage? Would it kill an actual individual human organism? We really do not know. This occurs in the fallopian tube where the ovum met the sperm and was fertilized, several days before the embryo (blastocyst) leaves the tube and travels within the uterus or womb toward its implanting spot in the endometrium at about 14 days from fertilization.
      Even if it was granted that no individual human being exists until the 8 cell embryos begin to divide into 16 cell ones, no one yet knows that fertilization has occurred.
      But past that stage, we are rating human individuals on their size, functioning and appearance. The “3 week” embryo:

      Week 3 Gastrulation – http://www.medicineatmichigan.org/magazine/2008/spring/21days
      Three cell layers and a body plan
      During its third week, the human embryo goes through a developmental milestone. Gastrulation establishes the embryo’s basic body plan and seals the fate of its cells. Once the process is complete, the embryo will have three distinct layers with a defined top and bottom, front and back, left and right. At no other time in its development will the embryo undergo such a radical transformation.

      Soul? That is a philosophical or religious concept as no soul has ever been detected in a scientific sense. Life itself may be apparent but it is evident only by its effects. We know the difference between alive ad dead but really don’t know what life is, again in a scientific sense.
      So I guess we’re back at valuing human beings by who else wants them. Back to exterminating useless eaters again? If your continued existence is inconvenient to a more important, more powerful person, you are a goner.

  28. Isha
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    If you want to send women into jail for “killing” babies, why don’t we start sending men into jail for masturbating and not using their sperm for reproduction because essentially they’re also “killing” a possible unborn child, or women for simply being on their periods? You’re ignorant and completely out of touch with reality. Please do not reproduce for the sake of humanity.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Because a spermatozoon is a cell produced by a male, just as an ovum is a cell of a female’s body generated during gestation (pregnancy). Neither is a human being, a human individual, any more than any other cell in a male’s or female’s body. Not until a sperm cell expels its DNA inside an ovum and the DNA of the sperm unites with the DNA of the ovum does a new human individual come into being.
      We do not reproduce for the sake of humanity. We (Christians and other God-fearers) have sexual relations because it is part of our nature designed by our Creator.
      You are ignorant and out of touch with reality. The things you do to have funsex while taking measures to avoid procreation were called in law until very recently, “the abominable and detestable crime against nature, not to be named among Christians, with either man or beast,” “lewd and lascivious conduct,” and for short, “sodomy.” Due to the failure of leaders in both religion and government to teach recent generations of these crimes and what the euphemisms mean, many professing Christians do not know all of what sexual behaviors are immoral, what the apostle Paul meant with the euphemisms “akatharsia” (uncleanness, impurity) and “aselgeia” (licentiousness). It was beyond the sensibilities of the legislators and the courts to actually name the specific acts included in the terms, and were mentioned only with euphemisms. Even the depraved Greeks would not name the specific acts but used, as Paul, the euphemisms “akatharsia” and “aselgeia.”

  29. Derek
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Again pro-lifers refuse to see or acknowledge the difference between going out and killing a baby and getting abortion because you don’t want a baby growing inside your own body. Completely different things. This woman is smart enough to release if rode v wade is overturn blue states will keep abortion legal in their states. But in order to get an constitution amendment you need a 2/3 majority that would absolutely need to include some blue states. I don’t think blue states keeping abortion legal is going to all of a sudden vote in favor of making abortion completely illegal even in cases of rape and incest.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Not every body believes in jesus.

  31. Mr. Meints
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    What I think is that you are trying to push your (religiously motivated) opinion on others. Just because you think life begins at conception does not make it a fact. An ovum is simply a growing mass of cells that is in the process of constructing a human body. It is not a functioning person until that ‘construction’ has been completed and the breath of life enters the lungs. Of course you could always say this is my opinion as well but who is to prove either of us is right? Until you can prove the existence of a soul (and of god) it should be in the hands of the one person and or deity we know for a fact exists- the mother. Pro Choice.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      And atheists, agnostics, pagans and libertines try to push their sensually motivated opinion on others: by the force of law.
      “Just because you think life begins at conception does not make it a fact.”
      You are correct. Life doesn’t begin at conception. It began long before. It is the life of the distinct, identifiable individual, whether human or nonhuman animal, that begins at conception.
      What makes it true is the evidence of scientific investigation. Science is founded upon observation, not speculation and not interpolation or extrapolation.
      “…the breath of life enters the lungs.” What? This is metaphysics. Religion. Air enters the lungs, not some mysterious “breath of life.” Air is not alive. The oxygen that is part of the air supports life, but is in itself a lifeless chemical. Surely you are not going to try to convince us that a baby is not alive until s/he inhales the first breath of air??

  32. Common Sense
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    This article, and the comments below it, make my blood absolutely run cold. That so many people believe a woman should destroy her life for a cluster of cells makes me truly lose faith in humanity…Please do our country a favor and never, ever vote.

    Since you all clearly need an education, let’s talk about bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy means that you get to control what happens to your own body even if it means life or death for another person. For instance, if someone were dying right now and needed your kidney, a lung, half your liver, and 2 feet of your intestines, you have the right to not give it to them. In fact, you probably wouldn’t. That person will die because you chose not to give up several of your organs. If you did donate your organs, you’d survive, but your life would be permanently damaged in an irreversible way. Pregnancy works exactly the same way. The cluster of cells will die if you choose not to give up your body for it, which is completely within your rights. If you want to make that sacrifice, fine, but it’s a decision, not a requirement. Unless we pass a law at the same time saying that anyone with available organs must donate them to a dying person, abortion will never be outlawed. End of debate.

  33. Julian
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    If the woman’s life was being endangered then it is neccessary. If the woman was raped and was pregnant then she has a choice to place the child on adoption (
    every woman should) if she doesn’t to.
    But she can justify in court if she doesn’t want the rapist’s baby to be born. A person who had an abortion just because she didn’t want it she must take responsibility and must be jailed for 9 months for taking the risk

  34. Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m still very confused about the legality and punishment aspect. I have been unable to properly answer this question and it has discouraged me from speaking about this issue as much as I used to.

    Clearly abortion is murder of human babies, the problem however has always been very much a moral one and not so much legal.

    • Al Grayson
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      All law is founded on someone’s concept of what is right and what is wrong under the circumstances addressed by the law.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I disagree. Getting rid of the fetus before it’s born isn’t “killing” anyone. Why do I say this? When a woman is pregnant with a fetus by force or consent, you do not start counting how old it is inside of the womb. Life starts for the baby when it is born, not when it is a zygote. My birthday is on the day that i’m BORN, not when I’m developing in the womb and still can’t live without the support of the mother.

  36. Posted March 30, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Why not discourage and minimize abortion by encouraging safe and effective birth control?

    Why not support the child and mother after birth ? Why do so many pro-life conservatives oppose programs to support poor women yet demand they carry a child to birth.

    Why do so many pro-lifers support capital punishment

    Why do some many pro-lifers support the Iraq war ?

    Why are so many pro-lifers gun nuts?

    Im sorry but I don’t see any connection between birth control and a book that was written 1000s of years ago

    I don’t call folks pro-life that are pro-war and pro-capital punishment

  37. richard
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    The abortion issue has been one of the most divisive issues in this country for decades. But some questions surrounding the issue are never actually asked.
    The pro-life position is based on the assumption that life begins at conception, inside the womb, and thus a pre-birth, still-in-womb life is the moral equivalent of a post-birth, outside-womb life; and further, a pre-birth life should be the legal equivalent of a post-birth life as well.
    But if this is true -– if, as many say, “abortion is murder,” –, then this mean that an abortion should be treated as premeditated murder and all involved in that procedure -– including the mother — should be prosecuted and punished for that offense, including the death penalty in states that allow that. If pre-birth life is the equivalent of post-birth life, an abortion is no different than the mother of a newborn infant calling a doctor’s office, making an appointment to bring the infant in for killing, and then a doctor and a nurse taking the infant that the mother brings to the office and killing the infant as the mother watches (with the mother then paying the doctor and nurse for their services). Surely, all would agree that this mother, and this doctor and this nurse (and possibly the doctor’s secretary, who took the mother’s phone call and made the appointment for the “contract killing”) should be convicted and punished for premeditated murder. Why should an abortion be treated differently?
    Pro-life advocates never seem to want to address this question, probably because they realize that following their logic to its logical conclusion would lead to a conclusion that many people could not accept, which would weaken the pro-life position in the political arena. But if pre-birth life is the moral equivalent of pro-birth life, what logical reason could one possibly give for not treating abortion as premeditated murder?
    Along these same lines, if one is pro-life, shouldn’t one believe that all abortions, without exception, must be outlawed? Many people who call themselves pro-life allow for exceptions: Life of the mother, rape, incest. But isn’t this a pro-choice position? One believes a woman has the right to choose in at least some circumstances. Why is it ok to “murder” a child in the womb because that child was conceived in a certain way (rape, incest)?
    As to the life-of-mother exception, the law has always recognized that one can lawfully kill another in legitimate self-defense, i.e., if one reasonably believes that the other is about to kill or do great bodily harm to you or to another (in whose stead you can kill in self-defense). But this hardly seems to fit this abortion exception. If abortion is to be justified on this type of self-defense theory, one would have to wait until the mother’s life was actually in mortal danger, that her death was imminent, before one could perform the abortion. One cannot claim self-defense if one seeks out and kills another because one believes the other was going to try to kill you sometime next week.
    In sum, simply asserting that “life begins at conception” does not necessarily answer all questions about the morality of abortions. In fact, the law allows for lawful homicides in several situations, self-defense being the most obvious. The debate about abortion is one worth having, but we need to fully address the full complexity of the issues involved.

  38. Randall
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    If Abortion does become illegal like I think it should who should be held responsible if a woman gets one? I’m not clear on where the pro life movement organisations stand on this issue. I think a life is a life and all responsible for taking that life should be held responsible. Can you tell me where you stand please?

  39. Mark Miglio
    Posted April 1, 2016 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    —————————————
    MURDER WITHOUT PENALTY
    —————————————

    One pressing societal problem today is that illegal abortions (late-term abortions) have little legislative teeth.
    My own philosophy is that rewarding good behavior is almost always the only thing needed to enforce legal or good behavior.

    While I am never in favor of physical punishment there are, of course, times when a penalty is needed to obtain necessary compliance.

    When is it illegal to get an abortion?

    Check out this chart source:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/…/a-look-at-late-term-ab…/448098/

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