There is an infamous video of clueless anti-choice demonstrators who are asked what punishment a woman should be subjected to if abortion is made illegal. Most make lame excuses — it’s a “crime” but the “perpetrator” should go unpunished. Actually, it’s worse than that — most of them say they never thought about the issue. Planned Parenthood and the National Institute for Reproductive Health have launched a campaign to ask pols the question “How much time should she serve?”
The protestors are clearly underinformed. But what about the anti-choice establishment? Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has an even more ridiculous answer — only the doctor should be punished, because the woman who seeks out the abortion is too “impaired” to be responsible for her actions.
This drivel is almost painful to read:
[I]f abortion were made illegal and he were a state legislator, Land said, “I would probably charge voluntary manslaughter for the abortionist. If [a doctor] were convicted, he would lose his medical license for two years and spend a year in prison with the first offense, and with the second offense, he would lose his medical license for life. At which point it’d be very difficult to find a doctor who’d do them.”
Such a legal stance is tantamount to “ignoring or infantilizing women, turning them into ‘victims’ of their own free will,” [Anna] Quindlen wrote. “State statutes that propose punishing only a physician suggest the woman was merely some addled bystander who happened to find herself in the wrong stirrups at the wrong time.”
Land doesn’t deny that women who have abortions might be addled, but he, along with Yoest, Earll, and Gans, takes exception to them being described as bystanders — or as enlightened women making free, educated choices.
“It’s not demeaning to assume that any person who is a mother who could make the decision to do this must be suffering from some form of psychological impairment because of the crisis of the pregnancy or because of societal demeaning of human life,” Land said.
Clearly women are just too damn irrational to be able to control their own body and destiny because of those damn hormones.
Daddy The State has to be in charge of the womb.
Pastor Dan of Street Prophets says this:
Look, one either has moral agency or one doesn’t. If there’s agency, then an illegal act is a crime. If not, then not. But to write off an entire class of women as mentally ill – if only temporarily – because they make a decision you don’t approve of? That doesn’t fit any moral framework I’m aware of. Nor does the outmoded idea that estrogen makes you crazy or the risible theory that society brainwashes women into killing their children.
My question — what happens to women that have multiple abortions — are these repeated delusions? Should she be forced into state-approved mandatory therapy to “correct” her thinking so she doesn’t head to the clinic again? No one is saying abortion should be encouraged; it should be safe and rare, but that’s not the point of this argument. The right already has its sights on making contraception more difficult to obtain, and continues its push for abstinence-only education. Jill at Feministe asks, where then, are the boundaries:
What about pregnant women engaging in behaviors that are risky for the fetus? Can she be prosecuted for child abuse or negligence if she, say, drinks coffee while she’s pregnant? If she eats tuna? If she smokes? What about if she goes skiing? What if she didn’t know she was pregnant, but should have known, and she does something risky– like goes binge drinking every night and survives off of Cheetos? Willful blindness? Neglect? What if she miscarries, and perhaps you can attribute it to something she did — negligent homicide?
And what about the male partner in this equation? What if he agrees with the woman in question that she should have an abortion — is he then an accessory to the crime, or is he temporarily insane as well?
All of this is madness; what it does do is pull back the curtain of the real agenda of the anti-choice crowd — controlling the sexuality of women by insinuating they are not capable of ethical, moral or practical decisions about their lives. Obviously, we need the bible-beaters to instruct us on such matters.