In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s unfortunate comments regarding abortion, a new essay in The Washington Post argues that anyone who is truly pro-life should want to see women who have an abortion thrown in jail, revealing the left’s own take-no-prisoners mentality on the life issue.
According to regular Post columnist Ruth Marcus, there can be no room for moderate positions in the Republican Party, insisting that anyone who really believes in the sanctity of unborn human life must necessarily think that prosecuting women who procure abortions to be a good and obligatory corollary.
“If abortion is the taking of a human life,” she contends, “why punish only the doctor who performs the abortion and not the woman who procures one?”
Of course, Marcus does not believe that unborn babies deserve any protection at all under the law, and believes that mothers and doctors should be allowed to dispose of them as they see fit. But this does not stop her from playing the holier-than-thou card, begging that pro-lifers be consistent and go all the way and demand the guillotine for women who have had abortions.
In her attempt to hem pro-lifers into a corner and force them to be ruthless in the name of logical consistency, Marcus rejects the notion of mercy toward aborting women, suggesting that anyone who believes that mothers are themselves often the victims of abortion are guilty of “paternalism masquerading as legal reasoning.”
“Poor woman, too weak or emotional to know what is in her best interest, or to be held legally responsible for her choice,” she writes sardonically.
Yet—ironically—it was the same Washington Post that insisted earlier this year that every day, “millions of women and girls around the globe are being coerced to have sex for the financial gain of the pimps and traffickers who abuse and exploit them.”
So, women who choose to have sex for money are “coerced” victims, yet women who choose to abort their unborn child are obviously making a liberated, responsible decision, free from outside pressure and duress?
The same Post article suggested that it is “those who seek to purchase commercial sex” who should be punished, rather than the prostitutes themselves, a very similar proposal to the one consistently made by pro-lifers regarding aborting women over the last 40 years.
The Washington Post editorial board similarly argued last year that the vast majority of prostitutes “resort to selling their bodies because they feel they have no other option.” And yet recognizing this sort of agonizing dilemma in the case of many aborting women is “paternalism”?
Despite the left’s repeated claim that pro-lifers would like to see women prosecuted or jailed under abortion laws, this has never been the position of the movement, and Americans roundly—and rightly—reject it.
Prior to Roe v. Wade, in states where abortion was illegal, state policy targeted abortionists, not women. States routinely and expressly treated women as the second “victim” of abortion, and it was the abortionists who were the exclusive targets of the law.
This policy also made good legal sense. By prosecuting the principal (the abortionist) and not prosecuting someone who might be considered an accomplice (the woman), states more effectively enforced the law against the principal.
The pitiless extremism sought by The Washington Post reveals nothing about pro-life advocates or about abortion laws prior to Roe v. Wade, but quite a bit about abortion activists, who themselves have staunchly and consistently resisted any attempts to restrict abortion-on-demand in any way whatsoever.
Planned Parenthood, to take an obvious example, has consistently fought tooth and nail against abortion waiting periods, fetal pain bills, the limiting of partial-birth abortions, parental and spousal consent laws, and even the collection of abortion statistics.
In the face of such unbending radicalism, it is only logical that the Left would expect—indeed, demand—such uncompromising extremism from the pro-life movement.
But the difference is, pro-lifers are not just fighting for ideas or for an unscrupulous industry; they are fighting for human beings—both women and their babies.
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