Do you really believe abortion is the killing of an innocent human being? They why shouldn’t women receive the death penalty or be put in prison?

I read this question for the first time when I viewed the Steve Chapman article that was mentioned on a podcast I listen to.

Concerning the pro-life voices claiming abortion is the killing of innocent human beings Steve Chapman a Chicago Tribune columnist says, “…this is a rhetorical device or a moral conceit, not a well-thought-out conviction. The vast majority of people who endorse it really don’t mean it. Even they exhibit a deep sense that a fetus has an appreciably lower status than an actual person.”1

His point is well taken. How many Christians do you know that are vocal about abortion, claiming it is the taking of an innocent life? Then those same Christians turn around endorsing, and even supporting healing and counseling for women who have had abortions, never punishment. How many of us would say the same for a woman who killed her innocent two-year-old?

Jeanne Mancini, president of the pro-life organization March for life said, “Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby. Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.”2

What is up with that? How can Christians claim abortion is the killing of innocent human beings, but then do an about face and huddle around women who have had abortions and suggest counseling for healing vs a concrete cell.

What would you say to someone who pointed that out to you as Steve Chapman did in his column? Chapmen went on to argue that if you really consider abortion murder then you should agree that women who have abortions should be punished. If not, then your not being consistent in your Christian convictions. If it is murder then punish them, if not then get out of the way, give women the choice to do what they want with their own body and quit calling it murder. Chapman wrote, “About 1 of every 4 American women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute. If you regard abortion as murder and think your sister, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin or friend should go to prison for decades — or be executed — if she ever terminated a pregnancy, you’re being consistent. If you regard abortion as murder and think they deserve a gentle path to healing, you’re not.”3

I personally believe abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, but like virtually every other Christian I know I don’t believe women should be punished for having an abortion. Why is that? If you feel the same way can your reasoning to someone who is pro-choice?

Science is clear on when life begins. Science is also clear that at the moment of conception life begins and if left alone this new life will develop and grow into an adult human.

Should women get the death penalty for killing an innocent human being? Absolutely not, but that does not mean I don’t think abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

Imagine if a woman is about to roll forward in her truck knowing full well that an infant is just in front of one of her tires. This woman knows the child is there. She saw the child, touched the child, heard the child. Has no doubt about the child being just in front of her tire, but goes ahead and rolls forward. None of us would consider this accidental, and everyone would agree that this woman is guilty of murdering an innocent child.

Now imagine another woman also has a child in front of one of her truck tires. We know the child is there, we see the child, touched the child, heard the child, but the woman does not believe the child is there. She is convinced, has no doubt in her mind, completely self-assured, there is nothing but dirt and gravel in front of all four tires. Rolling forward would mean rolling over dirt, gravel and other inanimate objects. Then she pulls forward killing the child.

Would we punish both women the same? Of course not, one knew full well what she was doing, the other did not.

Steve Chapman article makes us look at two questions to be considered over the abortion issue. First, is abortion morally right or morally wrong? The second question is a policy question, not an ethical question. The second question begs for guidelines once the moral question is answered. If it is decided that abortion is wrong then what should be the consequences or public policy for women and men who are guilty of committing abortion?4

Alan Shlemon in an STR.org podcast points out that we may be able to decide on the first question, (many of us have) if abortion right or wrong, but may not be able to easily solve the second question. What to do with those who are guilty of committing abortion.5

Keep in mind our society has already dealt with the issue of killing the unborn. Currently, we have 38 states that recognize the unborn and its status as a victim of crime and consequently punish those who have caused the death or injury of the unborn. In 2004 the ‘Unborn Victims of Violence Act‘ was passed and the U.S. recognized over 60 federal crimes of violence against the unborn. One example can be found in the Scott Peterson case where he was found guilty of double homicide 2004 of the murder of his wife Laci and his unborn son Connor. 

Shlemon points out that even if we can’t decide on a punishment for those who break the law, (if abortion was illegal) that does not mean it is ethically acceptable to have abortions. There are many considerations, motives, intent, and understanding of the actions taken. I personally believe that many women are duped into believing the unborn is nothing more than a clump of cells with little or no consideration to the growing life within them. If not coerced they are certainly encouraged in Planned Parenthood clinics throughout our nation to have the abortions.

Steve Chapman ends his article with, “If abortion is not murder, it is impossible to justify banning it, early in pregnancy or later. Women have the right to control their own bodies — have knee surgery or not, donate blood or not, go sky diving or not. The freedom to end a pregnancy is part of that physical autonomy.”6

This is, of course, the argument pro-choice advocates have been waving for decades. Women have the right to choose, they can do what they want with their own bodies. Nonsense! Women can’t strap bombs to their body and walk in public places, women can’t consume drugs and alcohol when they choose, women can’t sell their own bodies whenever and wherever they want. We all have restrictions on our bodies and we don’t have the right to choose.

Yes, women can have knee surgery, donate blood, skydive or not, and it is pathetic Chapman would even compare abortions to that list of preferences, as if having an abortion was nothing more consequential than deciding on your flavor of ice cream for that evening. The question of what they are aborting remains. If the unborn is life, human life, growing, developing human life, and science is clear that it is, then that life has weight on the justice scale of inherent human value.

 

Sources:

  1. Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html
  2. Peck, Bethany. “No Pro-Life American Advocates Punishment For Abortion.” March For Life, marchforlife.org, 30 March 2016. http://marchforlife.org/no-pro-life-american/
  3. Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html
  4. Shlemon, Alan. “Do Pro-Lifers Really Think Abortion Is Murder?” Audio blog post. STR Weekly Audio. STR.org, 7 June 2018. Web. 14 July 2018
  5. Shlemon, Alan. “Do Pro-Lifers Really Think Abortion Is Murder?” Audio blog post. STR Weekly Audio. STR.org, 7 June 2018. Web. 14 July 2018
  6. Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html
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