If abortions are murder, should women who have them go to prison?

Antiabortion advocates: "Uhhhh ..."


Lynn Harris
March 8, 2006 8:00PM (UTC)

Currently making the blog rounds for the second time is this video of abortion protesters being asked --

a) Whether abortion should be illegal ("Yes"),

b) Why? ("Because it's murder"), and

c) Then should women who have abortions go to prison? ("Uhhhh ...")

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The video clearly -- though somewhat facilely -- shows that these folks, many of them longtime activists, either have not thought about this question at all, which is damning enough, or are simply unable to say yes. The best most can do: "It's between the woman and her conscience" or the woman and God; the abortion itself is her "punishment."

"How can there be a law against 'murder' where the main perpetrator is not punished?" asks Digby in a post about the video. "How can it be murder if these people don't believe that the person who planned it, hired someone to do [it] and paid for it is not legally culpable? The looks on these women's faces in that video were amazing: confusion, frustration, pain. Their position is untenable and they know it." She also points out that the question "Should women be jailed for murdering their unborn child?" would likely not poll so well. (Not that it's not already happening.)

But let me also ask a question from the Devil's Advocate department: Which is worse, people who oppose abortions for the "baby's" sake and who have compassion for the women who have them -- however legally sketchy this position may be -- or people (protesting at clinics, say) who call these women "murderers" to their faces? I cant fully defend either, but I gotta say I hate the former just a little bit less.

Check out the video. What do you think?


Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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