Friday, December 13, 2013
The Implications of Regarding Abortion as Murder
On November 7-8, Washington and Lee Law School held a symposium, Roe at 40 - The Controversy Continues. Videos of the symposium panels and two keynote addresses -- one on each side of the issue -- are available here. I delivered the pro-choice keynote, and Michael Paulsen (University of St. Thomas Law School) delivered the pro-life keynote. Professor Paulsen argued that an embryo is a person from fertilization onward, and therefore that abortion is equivalent to murder. During the Q&A following the keynotes, I elaborated on the implications of Paulsen's position, using as illustrations cases from countries in which abortion is banned at all stages of pregnancy. Under these repressive laws, women are imprisoned and women die. El Salvador provides another such window into a world in which abortion is treated as murder. PBS reports on the consequences of El Salvador's abortion ban for women in that country. People who casually refer to abortion as "murder" need to be reminded of these women. Are they prepared to live with -- and to own up to -- these consequences?