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Nick Anderson
© Nick Anderson

The “pro-life” movement claims that they are against punishing women who get an abortion. I guess Trump didn’t get the memo. All he said was that if abortion is murder (as anti-abortion forces fervently believe), then there has to be some kind of punishment. According to US law, it is still murder even if you hire someone else (even a doctor) to commit it.

So do you believe the pro-life people, or is this just a lie because they know that the majority of Americans are strongly against punishing women? Was Trump just saying out loud what they are secretly thinking?

Instead, they want to punish abortion doctors and clinics. In the US alone at least eleven people involved in providing abortions have been killed, and that doesn’t include the 17 attempted murders, 13 people wounded, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 383 death threats, 100 acid attacks, 3 kidnappings, 41 bombings, 173 cases of arson, 655 anthrax threats, and over 400 cases of vandalism committed against abortion providers and clinics.

And of course, it is ok to punish women by passing laws making it difficult or embarrassing to get an abortion. Since the 2010 midterm elections, states have passed 288 laws restricting abortions.

UPDATE: If they really want to save lives, let’s do something about the almost six million children under the age of five who died in 2015, and the 300,000 women who died from pregnancy-related causes. According to a study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it would be relatively easy and inexpensive to save the lives of 4 million people a year.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    What Trump said, as your post suggests, is just the logical end point of the pro-life movement. I can hardly put it better than you have it:

    “…if abortion is murder (as anti-abortion forces fervently believe), then there has to be some kind of punishment.”

    That cuts to the heart of it. How can we legally vilify an action without extending the same to the “perpetrator?” Do we trust “love the sinner, hate the sin” in a legal framework? Hardly. This also ignores that taking away women’s ability to direct their own healthcare and family choices is effectively punishment itself. Not to mention if we follow some of the GOP loonies and outlaw the practice even in cases of rape or incest. Plus, it’s not as though abortion goes away just because it’s illegal, it just gets more dangerous.

    In a way, even if we don’t codify a punishment for having an abortion, outlawing the practice will, by default, punish women who decide to get one. That’s no small number of de facto criminals.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  2. Wildwood wrote:

    I think most believe what Trump was saying out loud, but that won’t get them anywhere. Instead they have been nibbling at the edges of this since Roe V Wade and they will not stop until they have their way. This is Christianity’s version of Sharia law.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I look at this picture of happiness and think “Wouldn’t it be loverly?” The two students on the right (woman behind the man) waged an all out campaign for town board of Geneseo,NY. Mostly the students voted for them. Meanwhile the two college students have studied the town regulations so the can appear at the first meeting with knowledge. The remaining Town Board members are helping them learn. They beat the Democrats and Republicans for their positions.

    Everyone young and old are happy in this picture. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see pictures like this all across our country?

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    Can’t recall where I saw the following quip that goes something like, “Your right to be paid for making a wedding cake is no comparison to the horror of legally requiring a woman to bear the child of a rapist”.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  5. redjon wrote:

    The quote was from LOLGOP and posted at AllHatNoCattle and read, “Think being paid to bake a cake violates your rights? Imagine being forced to have your rapist’s baby.”

    Meanwhile Fundamentalists everywhere seem to have exactly the same problem… Not that they are not free to practice their own religion, but that they are not allow to force the rules of their religion onto others. These folks certainly do NOT believe in the separation of church and state… many of them because they never had the opportunity to actually live under a government that worked hand in hand with The Church. Like that of pre-revolution France, for instance, or Czarist Russia.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  6. ThatGuy wrote:

    (or current Russia!)

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  7. Michael wrote:

    There are a couple of ways to interpret the logical incoherence of the pro-life movement. On the one hand, they could simply be adopting the term “murder” for emotional effect. That is, they don’t actually think abortion is the literal or moral equivalent of true first-degree murder, but they just want you to know that they think it’s really, really bad. Kind of like when people use the word “literally” to mean “okay, I don’t mean literally, but I do mean to exaggerate the point.”

    On the other hand, there are many that do think abortion is an act of murder in the literal sense…but only on the part of the doctor. The mother who hires the doctor is a victim, not a perpetrator. Of course, the implication of this interpretation is that women are incapable of moral agency; they are unable to grasp the full ethical implications of their actions and therefore should not be held accountable for them.

    So either they don’t really mean what they say, or they don’t consider women to be full equals among adults. Either approach isn’t very flattering.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  8. Ralph wrote:

    In these most trying of times, it’s important to respect the sanctity of all life, even from it’s tiniest, seemingly most insignificant inception. As a recovering Catholic, it reminds me of a song…

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink
  9. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    To play devil’s advocate (or angel’s advocate, depends on your perspective), if, as is suggested by pro-choice advocates, the question is simply one of a woman’s right to control her body, then there should be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion. A woman should be able to abort the day she is scheduled to deliver, nine months in. Same as she could cut her toenails that day, eh? (I do realize that she probably couldn’t reach her toenails at that point.) 🙂

    I think most people are reasonable and reject extreme positions on this issue. As the Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade, the abortion question involves a conflict of valid concerns. Namely, at least a potential life vs. the body control issue. The Court attempted to balance those essentially irreconcilable factors.

    BTW, IMHO the true “conservative” critique of Roe concerns not abortion specifically, but rather whether it should have been the Court doing the balancing of values, or whether the people should have, through their elected representatives.

    I also think it’s dirty pool to, in effect,
    blame all abortion opponents for the actions of a few nutcakes. That said, those who go so far as to call call all abortion “murder,” should be aware that such language will probably incite some lunatic to do just that from time to time.

    Just as those who,say, inflamed passions against the police after Ferguson should have been aware that some good cops elsewhere would probably get shot as a result.

    So you see, there IS hope for political unity in this country. Mutual incitement to violence may yet bridge the polarization of our politics.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    Speaking of Catholics, How many Catholic countries like France just condone abortions by just ignoring the problem. In Unhuman nature, there is evidence of forced abortions.
    Attenborough had a bit on one of his travels where the mother rodent squeezed her daughter to abort as the babies were victims of incest.

    And another unwanted baby had his funeral yesterday as the parents go off to jail for leaving him in the bathtub while they had sex.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 3:52 am | Permalink
  11. Michael wrote:

    “if, as is suggested by pro-choice advocates, the question is simply one of a woman’s right to control her body, then there should be no restrictions whatsoever on abortion.” I generally agree with the conclusion, but the rationale is incomplete. For me, the key question is who should have the legally binding authority to make decisions about perhaps the most intimate and meaningful life event. It is extremely arrogant of politicians and strangers to suggest they have any right to impose their values and beliefs on such an issue that fundamentally defines and alters one’s identity. As there is no rational agent who is affected by this decision as much as the mother, supremacy of authority must be hers and hers alone.

    “A woman should be able to abort the day she is scheduled to deliver, nine months in.” In practice, yes, I would support this as a policy stance for one very important reason: It will never happen. For one thing, you have to find a doctor who would be willing to perform such an abortion, which is practically impossible; only a handful (e.g., around 5) openly perform third trimester abortions. More importantly, though, no woman would ever carry a baby through an entire pregnancy and just change her mind on the last day.

    Women generally have late-term abortions for a small number of reasons, including very bad life circumstances (poverty, abusive relationships, drug addiction), fetal anomaly, or barriers prevented an earlier abortion. In the cases of fetal anomaly, there are several horrific conditions that cannot be diagnosed until midway through the pregnancy; these conditions will cause the baby to die within days, weeks, or months of birth, suffering the whole time. And since this blog loves irony, the barriers are a perfect example. Some states have mandatory 3-day waiting periods. For some women, this requires planning to take time off work, save up money for travel and hotel, etc. Thus, the effect of these laws is to prevent them from having a first- or second-trimester (which are safer) until they are able to take the 3-day abortion vacation in their third trimester. That is, the laws passed by pro-lifers are actively pushing women toward having third trimester abortions!

    The suggestion that a woman would just flippantly decide at the last minute to abort is very reminiscent of the idea that women are not rational agents and need to be protected from themselves. The fact is that there are normally very good reasons why a woman would choose to have a late-term abortion. Simply put, there is no way to craft a law that would prevent this fictional abortion scenario that would not also have the side effect of causing emotional devastation for real women. Consequently, there should be no restrictions on abortion. The decision should be solely between the woman and her doctor.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink
  12. Wildwood wrote:

    Thanks Ralph. I particularly liked the ending with the sperm puppets. That was quite a production.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  13. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    Thank you for responding to my comment.

    “As there is no rational agent who is affected by this decision as much as the mother, supremacy of authority must be hers and hers alone.”

    I don’t know if I would could call a nine month viable fetus “rational”. But it’s at least as rational as a baby just born. Should mommy be allowed to kill her just-born baby too?

    Similarly, let’s say a woman owns a dog. One day, she decides it looks like her late uncle, who abused her. She feels she needs to torture the dog for her mental well-being. Should she be allowed to do so? After all, she is the only “rational agent” affected.

    “The suggestion that a woman would just flippantly decide at the last minute to abort is very reminiscent of the idea that women are not rational agents and need to be protected from themselves.”

    I see. We have women (and men) who murder, steal,make silly Youtube videos, have addictions, etc. But not one woman in the history of the world has ever acted “flippantly.” I apologize for my sexist implication.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’m glad we are keeping the tone of this discussion civil.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink
  15. Ralph wrote:

    Yeah, Python is timeless, can’t believe I was still in college when that stuff came out!

    The abortion debate, like capital punishment, is one of those life-and-death issues that will never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, regardless of which side you’re on. No one likes abortion, obviously, and even if you’re pro-choice (which I am, btw) there is always the sticky wicket of how far along in a pregnancy a mother can still justifiably abort. I don’t think anyone could morally defend aborting a fetus that would be considered viable upon delivery, and certainly not within the final few days or weeks of gestation. But medical science in this area has advanced in leaps and bounds since Roe v. Wade, making preemies more viable earlier than ever before and continually blurring the lines even within the pro-choice camp. It’s been a moving target through time.

    In the end, it would seem the most humane and prudent course of action is to consider every case unique and something that should be strictly between the parties involved and their doctor, ideally leading to a decision one way or the other at the earliest opportunity. There will never be an easy “one size fits all” answer to this one.

    What I can’t abide are the religious right wingers who are both staunchly anti-abortion AND anti-contraception (I’m talking to you, Rick Sanctorum and friends), and don’t hesitate to use the gov’t and legal maneuverings as a weapon to enforce their views, as if a woman (let alone the sperm donor) should surrender their fate to the whims of chance and misfortune, which to me is the height of hypocrisy.

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ralph, well put. But I want to point out that doctors and patients make extremely difficult moral decisions all the time. Anyone who thinks politicians can do a better job making these decisions wasn’t paying attention during the Terri Schiavo nightmare.

    The thing I really don’t understand is why some people become obsessed about life (even a single life) in some circumstances, while not caring about many more lives in other situations (e.g., the 3 million or more people who die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, the 45,000 people who used to die each year in the US because of lack of health insurance, or politicians who advocate “carpet bombing ISIS into oblivion”).

    Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink