Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Should women be punished for having abortions?

Numerous pro-choice bloggers have linked to this video in which someone interviews prolife demonstrators from the Pro-Life Action League while they hold signs displaying images of aborted children in Libertyville, Illinois.

The film is produced by AtCenterNetwork which calls itself a "group that works for justice and nonviolent resolution of conflicts." The videos on the site are copyrighted by Lee Goodman, who is a former Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Illinois and is pro-choice. He lost to pro-choice Republican Mark Kirk. Too bad all the Pets for Lee couldn't vote.

The interviews are done in a type of Michael Moore fashion and the viewer has no clue how many interviews weren't included in the video. Goodman also seems to only interview the volunteers who are holding the signs not individuals who work for the Pro-Life Action League. The main question is, "If abortion is made illegal, should woman who have illegal abortions be punished?"

The prolife demonstrators for the most part don't have good answers to this question. Many of them openly admit that they haven't thought about the issue before. Some of them say, "I don't have an answer for that" or "I don't know." Most of them don't want the woman to be punished.

Pro-choice reactions to this video vary from,

"So repeat after me: They aren't 'pro-life'; they're 'pro-criminalization'. Republicans don't want to prevent abortion; they want to prosecute and imprison any woman who gets an abortion"


"The video suggests to me that even the seeming extremists who stand out on street corners with signs (some of the people interviewed claim to have been doing this for two years) are less extreme than we think they are: they dislike abortion and want to protest it as an act, but they don't, when push comes to shove, think it should be criminalized."


"Anti-choice is the height of simplistic thinking. X is against my moral system means X should be illegal is childish thinking." (Warning - expletives)

To a certain extent watching these videos and seeing that prolifers aren't really interested in punishing women who have abortions must hurt the oft-uttered pro-choice assertion that prolifers just want to punish women who engage in sex outside of marriage.

From the discussion on the pro-choice web sites, there doesn't seem to be any thought given to the fact that abortion used to be illegal in the United States and women were hardly locked up for life. In countries where abortion is illegal and is a punishable offense for women who have abortions, such as Portugal, it is virtually impossible to convict the woman. There simply isn't that much evidence if the woman doesn't want to admit to the abortion. Prosecuting women also endangers the possibility of convicting the abortionist since prosecuting the woman hardly endears her to testify against the abortionist.

JT at Between Two Worlds had a fairly comprehensive post on this subject.

I've also discussed this topic before at the challenge of JT.

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