You Can’t Criminalize Women Who Get Abortions

Criminalizing abortion means criminalizing the act of murdering preborn children, not criminalizing women. This means that anyone who kills a preborn child is legally answerable for the crime, whether they be a principal offender, accomplice, or co-conspirator of the act.

Criminalizing abortion is not equivalent to criminalizing mothers, but it does allow for their prosecution. After all, no one should have the right to murder a preborn baby, not even the child’s mother. If a fetus is really a person, then how can the woman not be liable?

This is what is known as equal protection (14th amendment). The same laws that prevent the killing of born people also prevent the killing of preborn people. Making abortion illegal for everyone, including the mother, ensures there is no discrimination against the preborn, and that homicide is equally prohibited.

If We Criminalize Abortion, Women Will Get the Death Penalty

Criminalizing abortion by applying equal protection of the laws to preborn children does not establish any penalties. It is true that in the case of some states, capital punishment is a possible penalty for which a prosecutor could seek. Under current law, this would be a maximum penalty.

Even under the umbrella of homicide, crimes can be charged as murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide, depending on the circumstances and evidence found in each individual case. In the case of abortion, the case could even be tried as assault, injury to a child, or a misdemeanor.

The point is, legislation criminalizing abortion does not control the outcome of a case. Every instance would be adjudicated by the justice system and examined on a case-by-case basis following the same procedure of law as other cases of homicide.

Making Abortion Illegal Singles out Mothers

Outlawing abortion does not single out mothers for prosecution. It simply removes discriminatory exceptions that disallow all responsible parties from being answerable to the law. It is the Pro-Life position that no one should have the right to kill a preborn child.

If abortion is to be made illegal, then it must be illegal for everyone involved, even the child’s own mother. However, as in the case of born homicide, all parties responsible for pre-born homicide are to be subject to the law, whether they are principal offenders, accomplices, or co-conspirators.

What about Miscarriages?

The idea that the death of a child in the womb by natural causes (miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy) is the same as intentionally taking a child’s life is an erroneous notion. In these tragic situations, a physician is acting to rescue and preserve the lives of two patients. This is different from abortion, the sole purpose of which is to end an innocent life. 

Furthermore, our current justice system has several mechanisms in place that would prevent both a mother and a physician from being tried in case of a miscarriage or medical emergency.

Our judicial process already distinguishes between death and homicide. Criminalizing abortion would not change that. It would simply demand that fetal homicide be handled within the same justice system we already rely on to deal with other cases of homicide.

In order for a woman to be liable for a miscarriage, virtually all servants of the public, including law enforcement officers making the arrest,  prosecuting attorneys, judges, juries, appellate courts, and even governors, would need to have conspired together to imprison the woman, to begin with. It would be preposterous even to consider such unanimous cooperation.

What about abortions performed under coercion?

Aside from the fact that the vast majority of abortions are done for elective reasons, existing law already contains protections from coercion to commit crimes. Once again, this is why the justice system exists to determine which cases of homicide were committed volitionally or under a state of duress.

This, by nature, would be distinguished from being “pressured” to abort in a general sense. Coercion entails an act of physical threat or force upon another person to do that which is unlawful. 

What About IVF/Abortifacients?

Criminalizing abortion does not prohibit In-Vitro-Fertilization. State laws, such as the most recent example of Louisiana, prohibit the intentional destruction of a living, in vitro fertilized ovum (LA R.S. 9:129). Fertility specialists can continue to perform ethical IVF procedures at the state level. 

Criminalizing abortion does not outlaw contraception, but it would outlaw contragestion (use of abortifacient birth control that kills a preborn child post-fertilization). Opponents of criminalizing abortion have objected to this by conflating fertilization and implantation of a fertilized egg (human being).

The Biblical and biological reality is that life begins at the moment of conception, not implantation. Therefore, any drug taken with the express purpose of ending the developing life of a child in the womb ought to be illegal. 

Who is Responsible for an Abortion?

Legal culpability for the homicide of preborn persons resides upon those that commit an abortion or aids others to do so. Anyone soliciting, providing, supplying, or administering an abortion would be liable.

This could be the abortion doctor, the woman, the husband/boyfriend/friend/family member, any/all medical staff, as well as transporting agents (drivers, etc.). All principal actors, accomplices, and co-conspirators would be legally culpable.

As is already the case in existing law for born homicide, this would include businesses, corporations, and LLCs aiding women to travel or pay for abortion procedures.