Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bill Clinton attacks pro-life students


Holly said...

I'd like to know where he gets the idea that prolifers want moms and doctors charged with murder? We want the government to stop allowing the murders to take place to begin with. We don't want to charge mothers. We want to HELP them.

Politicians are mostly disgusting. Let's talk about education? How about educating people that moral wrongs are still moral wrongs, even if it makes life a little less convenient.

God Bless them and change their hearts.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

The sensitive issue of negative sanctions for abortion requires careful consideration of culpability. Most women who have abortions are, one way or other, subjected to a great deal of coercion. When a woman chooses to have abortion without any coercion whatever, it makes sense to weigh her blame to assess punishment, even imprisonment.

The case of a doctor who performs an abortion is generally easier to evaluate, since coercion is hardly ever involved in their case. Imprisonment is clearly called for in most such instances.

Why pro-life politicians can't seem to get around to talking about this is, however, another matter. Doing so leaves them vulnerable to sound bites taken out of context that would invariably make them appear to women to be insensitive and brutal, and to doctors to be dangerous.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

To clarify my previous point, let me add that when coercion is established, the proper target of negative sanctions is the husband, boyfriend or parents who are primarily responsible for the decision to abort.

Leticia said...

Fr. Gearhart, you are absolutely right in your assertions. Here's what Susan B. Anthony said on this subject.
In her publication The Revolution
(1859), was written:
"Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime! "

d monk said...

Since abortion is murder, and all prolife groups work
to get the law changed to reflect this simple fact,
it stands to reason that all women who has abortions
will be prosecuted for 1st degree murder.
If a doctor was involved, he will of course also be
prosecuted. However in the future very few doctors
would risk this, so as a pratical matter in most cases
it will only be the women who is prosecuted.

There was a discussion on this very web site not long ago
regarding the actual punishment for these women.
The writer was reluctant to endorce capital punishment
but suggested 7-10 years.
This is of cource the discussion we should be having.
Obviously murder in the 1st degree can not somehow be
ignored by prosecutors.
7 to 10 years seems rather light, 25 to life would
be more in line would current guidelines.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

A couple of thoughts about "murder in the first degree." First, one could find a doctor who performed such an abortion to have had sufficient time to deliberate to be found guilty of premeditated murder, the primary criterion for 1st degree. Since the mother is not the one who actually performs the abortion, she would be an accomplice (assuming she's awake). Whenever there's coercion, the criminal culpability declines according to the level of coercion. This is where the judgment of a jury is critical.

Of course, as soon as abortion becomes criminalized, it goes underground, like other kinds of murder. Attendant circumstances, like the use of a coat-hanger instead of sterile surgical instruments, can both add to the severity of the crime and suggest a level of desperation that might be mitigating for the mother.

As a practical political matter, of course, it is highly unlikely that abortion will be treated as murder in the criminal code any time in the foreseeable future, regardless of what philosophical or theological arguments may weigh in to the discussion.