Abortion and Charging Women With A Crime

I “re-discovered” this blog just this past week.  That is to say, I sort of forgot that I had this blog and happened upon it while looking for something else on Facebook.  When I logged in I found, in my drafts, an article I started and never finished over three years ago.

As it happens, it is somewhat relevant in light of this year’s ridiculous Presidential primary season.  Just about everyone with a television, radio, friend, foe, or ears has heard about Donald Trump’s comments concerning abortion when pressed by Chris Matthews.  If you’ve missed it – here it is.  The relevant part begins at 0:56.

In light of that ridiculous back and forth and the firestorm of commentary it began, I present to you, dear reader, an unfinished article I began precipitated by a discussion on Facebook three years ago.  It starts below the line.  I say “starts” loosely, as this is obviously the “guts” of the intended article with no opening and an ending that reads “…”  (I have no idea how I intended to finish this article)

________________________________________________________________

I believe 1) that human life begins at conception and 2) that the human being is a morally relevant person at the same time.

Because of that I was asked the following (with slight edits for clarity):

Do you think that a woman who uses Plan B should be charged with murder or, at least, manslaughter?” If your answer to this is “yes,” then you at least are consistent [with your position]. If your answer is “no,” I think there are two options: (1) you don’t consider a newly formed embryo to be a person, or (2) you think this is an acceptable form of murder, for some reason.

My answer to that question reads (keep in mind, I’ve already provided arguments for why I believe what I asserted in the first sentence of the post [below the line]):

No, I do not believe that a woman who uses Plan B or has an abortion should be charged with a crime. However, I also do not accept that your two conclusions logically follow. Nor do I believe it is a logical argument to say something like, “A human being is a morally relevant person from conception. Killing a morally relevant person who has committed no crime is murder. Abortion or abortifacient drugs murder a morally relevant person. Therefore, a woman who has an abortion or uses abortifacient drugs to kill her child should be charged with murder, or at least manslaughter.”

It reads soundly enough, but the problem is that it assumes facts not in evidence. The assumptions are numerous, but here are a few. It assumes:

1. Abortion is not readily available – but it is.
2. Abortion is not legal – but it is.
3. Plan B is not readily available – but it is.
4. Plan B is not legal – but it is.
5. The State has a fixed, consistent, legal definition of person – it does not.

Now, IF abortion was neither legal nor readily available and IF Plan B was neither legal nor readily available and IF the State defined the unborn child as a person from conception AND a woman had an abortion or used Plan B THEN more facts would be rightly assumed:

1. She would be having an abortion or using Plan B in violation of the law
2. She would be conspiring to commit the crime, as obtaining the abortion or the drug would require premeditation due to their unavailability
3. She would be knowingly killing an innocent person as (in this imagined case) rightly defined by law.

Following those assumptions, then, yes I think that it would be perfectly right to charge a woman that uses Plan B or has an abortion with murder or manslaughter. Also, any co-conspirator should be charged as such. Therefore, if a boyfriend, husband, doctor, mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc… press a scared girl or woman to (or help) commit the crime (in this imagined world), then they should be held culpable according to their level of culpability. And every case (in this imagined world) should be treated on its individual merits and complications (was rape or incest involved? Was a minor involved? Etc…). But, that won’t change a crime to not a crime.

However, that’s not the world we live in, and we have to interact with the world we live in. Therefore I believe that we need to tackle the problem of abortion on many fronts in different ways, and, as Christians we must do so in a way that reflects our faith and the object of our faith. So, a short list of how I think we should act looks like this:

1. We must be longsuffering. We must understand that the hearts of many are hardened against the fact that a child is a person from conception. Because of the hardness of peoples’ hearts we must understand that they are committing these acts in a sort of ignorance. For so long, and in an emotionally convincing manner, women have been sold a “bad bill of goods” and truly believe that they are not taking part in a murder, though they are. Recognizing that we, before we were saved, were sold a similar (though often different) “bad bill of goods,” we were calling good “evil” and evil “good,” we were sinning and convinced we were not – recognizing that, we must be empathetic, and we must forgive much because we were forgiven much. We must show grace and mercy.

2. We must be convincing. Our arguments need to be sound and delivered with gentleness and grace. We must have solid arguments. We need to appeal to reason and to emotion, and we need to do so without compromise of the principles of the argument, but we must do so without compromising the principles of our faith.

3. We must show kindness. There is no doubt that in many (most?) instances that lead a woman to consider or have an abortion there is a hurt, scared person making that decision. We should look to meet her needs, we should do everything we can to help her however we can.

4. We should provide alternatives – taking in the mother and child when we can and the situation allows. We should provide support, material and immaterial, as much as possible. We should look to make adoption easier, more affordable. We should adopt as often as possible. Etc…

5. We should preach the Gospel. It is the proclamation of the Good News of free acceptance in Christ that is the power of God to change hearts and minds.

6. We should look to get laws changed that allow for the murder of children by using sound arguments, not slogans and not by appeals to emotion.

7. We should live at peace with everyone as much as it is possible for us to do.

8. …

In Christ,
Ray

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