"If you make abortion illegal based on the hypothesis that abortion is murder, and a woman has an illegal abortion, should she serve time for murder?"
Before you squawk in anger over that question, think about this.
The new South Draconian law against abortion mentions punishing the doctors. It says shit-all about the women who actually procure the abortion.
No one seems to have asked the question, and make no mistake people, it is a question we need to ask.
You can't make a law and then have no punishment when someone decides to break a law that obstensibly is about "preventing the murder of an unborn child." Yet, in both the South Dakota and Mississippi laws, the woman who procures the abortion isn't even mentioned.
It's like the woman (all women, really) are irrelevant.
Wait. I tell a lie. One Website last year went to an anti-choice rally and actually asked the participants what the jail term for women should be if they procure an illegal abortion.
The sight of heads exploding was...terrifiying.
Most of the people asked were women. They all said they had been involved in the anti-abortion movement for several years. They all were adamant that abortion should be illegal. They all were very clear in their beliefs that abortion was murder.
And not one, not one, had ever even thought about what the penalty should be if a woman procures an illegal abortion.
Think about that.
These protestors (almost all women) are so focused on the fetus, that they've completely blocked out the woman who actually owns the uterus. The question of her was simply...irrelevant.
Now that's frightening. To be honest, I had simply assumed that women seeking an illegal abortion would be punished under the law, although I never thought much about what the penalties might be. I mean, it makes sense. Break the law, you go to jail.
It appeared that I assumed wrong.
For some reason, this makes me furious. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it does.
If you watch the video, you'll notice that only one person (a woman) thought that the woman getting the illegal abortion should go to jail for murder, but hemmed and hawed on whether or not the charge should actually be murder and then hemmed and hawed for how long she should serve time and then hemmed and hawed on "well it really depends on the circumstances and state of mind and whether or not the woman really understood and/or believed abortion was murder and this and that and..."
Which, you know, the pro-choice people have been saying all along. But don't listen to us, 'kay?
Most of them actually didn't think the woman should be punished at all. There suggestions that the woman should get "counseling" and "pray." There are suspicious questions like, "Who are you with? Are you trying to trick us?"
As the interviewer points out in the video, if you're going to make something a crime you really do need to punish people who break that law. If you're claiming the law being broken is to prevent murder, than you need to assign jail time to it.
Before seeing the 6-minute video from the AtCenterNetwork, the only time I had ever heard the issue of punishing the woman seeking the abortion come up was on science fiction television show.
Everyone remembers the Battlestar Galactica episode The Captain's Hand, right? I'm talking about this part right here where a fictional (female) president of a fictional society issues an executive order banning abortion and imposes criminal penalties on both the doctors who facilitate it and the women who seek it.
So, in short, it appears only two organizations ever bothered to ask my initial question of: "If you make abortion illegal based on the hypothesis that abortion is murder, and a woman has an illegal abortion, should she serve time for murder?"
One is a teeny tiny Web site that I'd never heard of before today.
The other is a science fiction television show that airs on the SciFi Channel Friday nights at 10 p.m. EST.
Anyone else scared by that?
ETA: Read the thoughts on the video from Digby here and here.
Also, The Talent Show has some thinky thoughts on the video.