While we recognize that recent anti-abortion legislation is advantageous to the unborn, they universally fail to go far enough and, in almost all instances, undermine the ideological assumption that undergirds those bills; unborn babies are alive, and taking their lives should be treated as murder. Our concern is that unless these laws criminalize abortion for both the ‘doctor’ and the parent(s), and criminalizes them with the same penalty as murder of the already-born, they are self-defeating.
A whole slate of anti-abortion laws have been passed in various states over the last few weeks, and we praise God for each and every one of them. Nearly fifteen states have considered ‘heartbeat’ abortion bans. Alabama made it a felony for a ‘doctor’ to conduct an abortion in the state. Georgia passed a bill outlawing the homicide after a heartbeat is discovered. Missouri has considered 21 anti-abortion bills this session, with several making their way through the legislature. Heartbeat bills were also passed in Ohio, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
While we recognize that not all states offer the death penalty for murder (20 states, plus the District of Columbia, have banned the practice), our argument is that to provide the consistency needed to undergird our argument regarding the life of the unborn, whatever is the ultimate penalty for homicide in any respective state must uniformly be practiced for murder of both the unborn and already-born. Furthermore, consistency in argumentation requires that those who hire someone to murder their infant should face the same punishment as the murderer themselves.
It is standard practice in American jurisprudence that someone hiring a hitman or assassin to carry out murder on another human being be charged with homicide and face the same (or at least similar) punishment as the hitman.
In what is commonly called ‘contract killing,’ U.S. law treats those who hire the hitman the same as the one who carries it out. Typically both are charged with murder and with conspiracy to commit murder. The conspiracy charge is enacted upon any two (or more) parties who conspire to commit murder. In some states, this is legally called Solicitation to Commit Murder and is punishable as a capital offense. The hitman is charged with murder as well, and the one who hired the hitman is charged with murder (although they may sometimes be charged with different degrees of murder, depending upon the jurisdiction).
While many pro-life voices argue that punishing moms (and/or complicit dads) who hire abortionists to assassinate their children is a step too far – often under the largely false notion that the mother is somehow a ‘victim’ of the abortion industry (as Russell Moore of the ERLC has argued), this is the very ideology that will undo the pro-life movement. In fact, it’s the very notion that caused the horrible outcome of Roe v Wade.
Of course, if you’ve spent any time outside the abortion mill, you have seen that the vast majority of mothers who kill their babies are fully aware they’re murdering a human being, and they don’t care. We (abolitionists) have seen them lift their middle finger to their womb and say, “F____ this baby” and walk in gleefully. We have also seen tragic circumstances when they are dragged into the clinic crying and screaming by an over-aggressive, abusive male. In the former case, these women should be held accountable for murder. In the latter, these women are forced to take part in the procedure and truly are victims. The latter is very rare, and determining the level of complicity in the offense should be determined by a court of law during a trial for homicide.
Abortion statutes from Texas in 1961 (Articles 1191-1194 and 1196 of the Texas Penal Code) mandated the penalty for performing abortion to be only two to five years imprisonment (double if done without the woman’s consent), and only a fine of $100 to $1000 for the mother trying to procure an abortion. Justices who decided Roe v Wade determined that Texas must not really think a fetus is a person if the punishment for terminating the life wasn’t commensurate with the punishment for homicide. This inconsistency led to their argument failing in court.
Likewise, if we acknowledge that fetuses are human beings (which they are medically and scientifically), then we cannot allow exceptions for rape or incest. We’ll remind you that the Texas law, which was overturned by Supreme Court in Roe v Wade, permitted abortion for rape or incest. Norma McCorvey found out that she was pregnant with her third child and then she lied, claiming she had been raped. When her story was found fraudulent, she then sought help from two women, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who filed a claim using the alias Jane Roe (Wade, was Henry Wade, the District Attorney for Dallas County.) It was difficult to argue that fetuses were human beings when they allowed exceptions to murder them on account of the alleged sins of the infant’s father. We must not make the same mistake. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.
New abortion laws must not make these errors. If abortion is truly murder (and it is), then committing it – whether the doctor or the parent(s) – should require the same punishment as murder in that state, whether life in prison or execution, depending upon the laws of that state.
If we do not go ‘all the way’ in punishing abortion as murder, politicians will take it as a sign, just like they did in 1973, that we must not truly believe the unborn are people whose lives should be fully protected.
[Publisher’s Note: This article got me banned from Facebook – JD]