At YouTube there is a video taken of an anti-abortion protest in Libertyville, Illinois (hat tip). As embedding is disabled, I’ll summarize it for you. A film crew went to an anti-abortion protest, and asked them if abortion should be illegal. As expected, they all said yes. They were then asked what should happen to the women who have illegal abortions. Only one answer was anywhere near coherent, and some of them had never even thought about it. This leads to several questions:
- How much time should the woman do? If abortion is murder (for the purposes of this post, I’ll consider the word “murder” to include manslaughter) shouldn’t the woman receive the same sentence as any other sort of murder, namely life imprisonment or the death penalty?
- Why should we only punish doctors? If I hire someone to kill someone else, I should be punished just as if I’d done it myself. Doesn’t not punishing the woman mean that I shouldn’t be punished either, if I hire a hit man in a murder-for-hire?
- What about self-induced abortions? If abortion is murder, than conducting an abortion on oneself should be treated no differently than me actually going out and killing someone right?
There are several possible explanations after the jump:
- Some people may honestly believe that the woman should be given a sentence appropriate for murder. Among the possible explanations, this is theoretically the most principled because if abortion is murder, they are giving a punishment that fits the crime. As about one third of American women have an abortion, imprisoning or executing one sixth* of the population would rapidly result in one hell of an unpopular law.^
- They think abortion is wrong, but they do not believe it truly is murder. This explanation allows escape from the cognitive dissonance. But why then do they equate abortion with murder if they do not truly believe it is murder? And if it truly is less wrong than murder, wouldn’t this eventually lead to a position where if the fetus has rights, and the woman has more rights, wouldn’t this lead to a position where (some) abortions would be allowed because in the conflict of rights, the woman has more?
- They do not believewomen are people capable of making their own decisions. This is the most horrific explanation. After all, if women are incapable of making their own decisions, when does the rights rollback end? Will suffrage and other rights go with it too? At Feministe, Jill Filipovic has more on this.
Women are people. That is feminism in three words. Anything less is oppressive for everyone.
*To simplify, I took females to be half the population (in reality it is slightly more than half) and one third of one half is one sixth: (1/2)/3 = 1/6
^In the interests of full disclosure, a relative of mine has had an abortion, and I obviously don’t want her thrown in jail