Thursday, April 7, 2016
Abortion and Punishment
New York Times (Apr. 2, 2016): Abortion and Punishment, by Katha Pollit:
In her op-ed, Pollit discusses how, in the aftermath of Donald Trump's outrageous remark that women should be punished for having abortions, anti-abortion forces have been hastily devising ways of appearing to be compassionate toward women. Why this would be so, if abortion is murder, is one of the baffling contradictions of the anti-abortion front. To describe women as "victims" of a culture of death fomented by parents, husbands, boyfriends, and health care professionals is to deny that women can hardly be "frail flowers" to obtain abortions these days:
If you consider how determined a woman has to be to get an abortion in much of the country these days and how much energy states expend trying to dissuade her, it's hard to see her as a frail flower. If abortion is murder, the woman is less like a victim and more like someone who hires a hit man. In law, both parties are culpable.
Abortion opponents' only choice, Pollit reasons, is to patronize women, "to portray them as irrational, ignorant and childlike, perhaps even temporarily insane." Nonetheless, that is hardly an excuse for murder, at least not one that would matter in our legal system. And it appears that some states are taking this reasoning seriously, as Purvi Patel found out in Indiana, Anna Yocca in Tennessee and Jennifer Whalen in Pennsylvania. If this is what abortion opponents have in mind as compassion, then Trump wasn't far off the mark.