After much prompting he replied, with the considered grace and solemnity of a flustered game show contestant, “The answer is, there has to be some form of punishment for the women”. The question was “Should women face legal punishment for receiving an abortion, were a ban to be put in place?”. After first giving a shout-out to back alley failed med students worldwide, he stepped onto the ledge and asserted that if abortion is illegal, of course women should be punished, but he was too gutless to jump and clarify the scope and nature of the punishment.
Damn it, Donald, after the Muslim internment camp business I thought I could trust you to bring a point to its insane, hate-filled conclusion. Now you have forced me to try and suss out the fine points of the punishment and legal mechanism of this charming ethos. And I got hate mail for throwing people out of the P.T. Area.
To get a meaningful answer to this question, we first must examine the stated mandates of criminal punishment.
1. Incapacitation: Lock them up so society is safe from further mayhem
2. Deterrence: Serving as cautionary example to other potential miscreants.
3. Restitution: An attempt to return the victim to the status quo ante.
4. Retribution: You harmed society, so now society gets to harm you.
5. Rehabilitation: There are places where this is still a thing.
Now let us apply these to the crime of not having a baby that you were supposed to, and see which allows for the most meaningful remediation
Conceptually the simplest — you violated the law so you go to jail. The length of the sentence is tricky; a nine month stay is symbolically appealing, but if the intent is to protect society from re-offence, I suppose it would have to be until menopause without hope of parole. Admittedly, this does massively penalize teen age fumblers raised on abstinence only sex-ed, but I stand by the adage “If you can’t do the time, don’t give in to your overpowering mammalian drive to procreate”.
How do you make sure that every moment of conception results in the squeezing out of a viable human person? I mean, aside from high quality prenatal medical care, nutritional and housing support, and removing women from abusive home environments…because that is wasteful big government talk. So, punitively speaking, what is a graphic enough punishment for abortion that it drives desperate women to keep an unwanted pregnancy going? I’m drawing a blank on this one.
This hangs on whether the wounded party is the fetus that was deprived of life, or the society that was deprived of a person. Either way the closest you could come to repairing the status quo is to ensure that the woman is immediately re-impregnated by the same partner, thus supplying a passable stand-in for the child that could have been. Deep psychological scarring of all involved withstanding.
The age-old question: How do you corner someone at their lowest moment of pain, doubt, and self-recrimination, and still find a way to make it meaningfully worse? I imagine the trauma of being put on trial for abortion would cover the public shame and emotional damage side of things, but maybe there could be a website where all the details would be posted in perpetuity to extend the window of suffering.
I think we’re past saving at this point.