"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, July 30, 2007

Asking How Much Jail Time for Women Having an Abortion if Roe Were Overturned?

When the question “how much jail time?” is asked by a man behind the camera of a mini-documentary filmed in front of an abortion clinic, the responses according to Anna Quindlen in Newsweek, are “I’ve never really thought about it.” “ I don’t have an answer for that.”

Ultimately, Quindlen checks this off a due to the fact that:

“there are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can't have it both ways.”

Interesting conclusion considering it isn’t likely to be the first thought in the minds of people that are against abortion or are considered pro-life. But because they haven’t answered or even considered this angle to the debate, Quindlen sees only “two logical choices.” How does one arrive at such a simplistic A or B answer to one of the more divisive debates of our time? What are we talking about, a multiple choice life test?

Quindlen writes of:

“A new public-policy group called the National Institute for Reproductive Health wants to take this contradiction and make it the centerpiece of a national conversation, along with a slogan that stops people in their tracks: how much time should she do?”

Is this the best they can do? What kind of gimmick is this when we’re talking about a womans right to choose, the life of a child, the non-life of a fetus and all the rest?

The author quotes Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa regarding the argument that if abortion “if the Supreme Court decides abortion is not protected” and women seeking an illegal abortion would be guilty of a crime:

“They never connect the dots. How have we come this far in the debate and been oblivious to the logical ramifications of making abortion illegal?"

During the last governor’s race, June’s organization brought the question to the debate against “the Republican contender believed abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. "We wanted him to tell the women of Iowa exactly how much time he expected them to serve in jail if they had an abortion."

The Democrat candidate, Chet Culver won the race according to June because he “unabashedly favors legal abortion,” which, proves “that choice can be a winning issue if you force people to stop evading the hard facts.”

This newest tactic in the abortion debate is a good one as far as tactics and obfuscation go since most people do not consider that piece of the puzzle, but it’s pretty shallow as far as I am concerned.

On the way to arriving at one of the “two logical conclusions” I would need a number of things cleared up; a few of which are:

According to the Center for Policy Alternatives; “without Roe, women and their doctors will be sent to prison. But if very few states actually address the woman having the abortion would this actually be true?

Why abortion now is coined as “reproductive rights?” What about women who cannot have children for some medical reason; where are their rights?

What was the jail term for women that illegally received an abortion prior to Roe’s across the board legalization?

According to whose version of “1984” did Center for Policy Alternatives use to come up with “If Roe is overturned, every woman who miscarries is at risk of becoming the target of a criminal investigation.?”

Lastly for now, and again according to Center for Policy Alternatives, “States can adopt the Freedom of Choice Act to protect women’s rights regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court. Ten state constitutions (AK, CA, FL, MA, MN, MT, NJ, NM, TN, WV) and statutes in six other states (CT, HI, ME, MD, NV, WA) affirmatively guarantee the right to an abortion. Hawaii enacted its law in 2006. The remaining 34 states should enact a Freedom of Choice Act before Roe is overturned to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal.”

Doesn’t the above fall right into the “logical” argument made by many in the “pro-life” camp that state the “pro-abortion” groups claim that making abortion “illegal” would take away the “right,” when in fact it may not as it would go back to how abortion was dealt with in the past; on a state by state basis?

I’m pretty comfortable being against abortion without being overly religious and I could be very tempted to come up with an answer to the “how much jail time” question if there are truly only two “logical conclusions.” Unfortunately it is not logically as simple as that unless they’re just looking for the criminalizing of women screaming point; then it’s very illogically logical.

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