Today’s lesson in how to distinguish honest and objective advocates from hopeless dogmatists: normally, if somebody gives you a binary choice, it follows that one answer is right and the other is wrong. If you pick A and they were looking for B, you might disagree but at least you’d understand where the disagreement was coming from.
The dogmatist, however, will construct their pseudo-logic in such a way that both answers are equally wrong, no matter how diametrically opposed they are or how different their consequences. Such is the case we find ourselves in with pro-aborts’ reaction to Donald Trump’s remarks about punishing women for abortions, should abortion become illegal.
It was to be expected that they would exploit it to paint all pro-lifers as hungry to throw women in jail. But wouldn’t you know it, it turns out that limiting punishment to abortionists is also the wrong answer, at least according to Deirdre Fulton of the progressive propaganda website Common Dreams and some of her pro-abortion allies…
But not only does this position ignore the fact that many women in the U.S. already face “punishment” in the form of harsh laws and daunting financial and logistical barriers to abortion—many of which stem from state-level attacks on abortion clinics and providers—it harms patients by criminalizing medical professionals.
“Punishing doctors for providing safe abortion care is not any better than punishing women,” Kelly Baden, director of state advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said on Twitter […]
As David Grimes, author of Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation, wrote last year, the goal of efforts to criminalize physicians who provide abortions “is to force doctors to abandon their patients in need of help.”
Yes, abortion advocates are officially on record as saying that women going free after aborting with no legal consequences whatsoever is “not any better” than being arrested and serving time in prison after aborting. Do we really need to spend time refuting that proposition? I assume my second-class opinion status as a male unable to give birth doesn’t also disqualify me from declaring freedom to be preferable to incarceration?
Their support for this claim is that it hurts women to take away their ability to get abortions. That’s unpersuasive enough in normal arguments but is simply nonsensical here; both scenarios having an alleged “harm” does not change the fact that “punish women” obviously carries an enormous additional harm that “punish abortionists” does not. So even if you accept the basic pro-abortion premise, you still can’t argue the latter’s “not any better” with a straight face.
As for the “harm” of denied abortion access, harm is more than simply not getting what you want. Nobody will deny that unwanted pregnancy is a hardship, but it’s a hardship that will remain fully preventable without abortion, and will still have plenty of alternative assistance available. And unintended pregnancy will still not automatically mean unwanted parenthood, with adoption a perfectly viable option (an option, by the way, that the abortion industry discourages). The real harm—putting an innocent child to death—will be prevented.
Nor would women be harmed by deprivation of all the non-abortion care abortionists supposedly offer. Contraception would still remain cheap and plentiful. Health care for low-income women would remain widely available from federally-qualified health centers and community health clinics that vastly outnumber Planned Parenthoods—and in fact, without abortionists hogging the public trough, their funding would actually increase, so they could provide even more of the care that Planned Parenthood either doesn’t provide at all or is choosing to provide less of by the year.
In fact, locking up abortionists would actually spare women the most real harm of all. Abortions carry a litany of documented health risks, including increased mortality rates, infertility, future preterm births and miscarriages, emotional and psychological disorders, and yes, even the often-disputed breast cancer—and those are the careful, professionally-done ones. In recent years, scores of abortion facilities have been cited for long lists of health and safety violations, and not just the black sheep of the factory—offenders include Planned Parenthood-run locations and even Whole Woman’s Health, the plaintiff in the Texas case currently before the Supreme Court.
Considering that the National Abortion Federation chose to do nothing about worst-of-the-worst Kermit Gosnell, I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that even the providers the abortion lobby cites as its standard bearers turn out to have such low standards.
It’s one thing to say “I still oppose prohibiting abortion, regardless of who’s punished.” We can have that debate. But the absurdity here goes well beyond that. These people aren’t merely saying “you pro-lifers are still wrong.” They’re saying both ways of banning abortion are equally wrong, extreme, and harmful. Fulton’s headline expressly says that punishing doctors is “just as terrifying for women” as punishing women.
There’s no debate, no grappling with our arguments and answers to them. As we’ve seen so often before, “pro-lifers are wrong and horrible” is just assumed as the starting point, and the hyperbole continues from there. The conclusion: there are no “right” answers for pro-lifers that will ever satisfy our opponents, no way they’ll ever be honest enough to admit we respect and value women despite disagreeing about abortion. Tomorrow’s criteria will always change so that we’re the boogeymen, no matter what the criteria were yesterday.
The only path forward is to keep speaking for what’s right as best we understand it, without worrying about how to appease fanatical detractors, and be confident that those who can be reached will be.