Yesterday I asked this question to our friends on the League’s Facebook page:
- What should the penalty be for those who provide/get abortions after (if) they’re made illegal?
The question came up in response to an article I read about Tim Pawlenty, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. Pawlenty was asked by a reporter “what the penalty should be for women who have abortions and doctors who perform abortions if his stance on overturning legal abortion prevails.”
I don’t think we want to make it a criminal sanction but I think there should be some kind of penalty or consequence, but we don’t have a specific proposal as to what that would be.
Eric Woolson, the Iowa spokesman for Pawlenty’s campaign staff, later apologized for cutting the interview short and clarified:
… “As you know, this was the last question in the press scrum and discussion got chopped off.” Woolson said. “To be clear, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue of abortion returns to the states for them to decide the issue and penalties, if any. As to the governor’s views on these matters, he believes that if abortion becomes illegal, abortion providers should be subject to a penalty possibly including a criminal penalty. However, he does not believe women should be penalized.”
Friends Chime In
So I asked our Facebook friends to weigh in: Did they agree or disagree with what Pawlenty (and/or his staff) said?
I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the answers, and want to share some of them here.
This is, to me, the logical conclusion of the pro-life position: Punish the doctor for committing an illegal procedure, but don’t punish the woman, who will often be punishing herself plenty.
Additional Interesting Comments
A post-abortive women, D, posted a comment which made me stop to consider something I hadn’t previously put into words:
Well, come and execute me, because if it is made illegal again, I am not different than those who still have abortions. Believe me, the torment of my mental health and physical health was awful. I do think the doctor should be jailed and the woman, who am I to cast stones.?
Sarcasm aside, D’s point is well taken: If we classify abortion as murder (in a future, alternate world), do we go back in time and punish everyone who has been involved in abortion since 1973? United States law prohibits charging people with crimes if those actions weren’t crimes at the time they were committed. So, legally, this isn’t an issue.
But we do need to keep in mind the reactions of post-abortive women in these types of conversations. While we oppose the action they took, chances are they regret it even more and they don’t need us to tell them it was the wrong choice.
In short, we do love women who have had abortions, and we definitely to not wish they were rotting away in jail.
And while we love abortionists, if they knowingly make the choice to perform illegal abortions, there should be consequences.
If you’re on FaceBook, join the conversation here for a discussion of this and many other topics!