What should happen to women who get abortions, if abortions were to become illegal?
A man from the At Center Network, an online news agency, approaches anti-abortion protestors in Libertyville, Illinois and asks them this question in the above video (click the link — video embedding is disabled).
After each protestor says abortion should be illegal, the cameraman then asks what the punishment should be for women who have illegal abortions. Many of the respondents pause to think. The answers are varied — “Pray for them. I don’t think they have to spend time in jail or anything,” responds an older woman with glasses.
“I don’t have an answer for that,” says a young blond man.
The question appears to stump everyone in the video. One of the young woman protestors agrees there should be a punishment, including jail time, but wavers on the length of the sentence and who should be convicted.
If the protestors think the murderer of an infant should go to jail – and they likely do – but don’t think a woman who has an abortion should be jailed, does this mean they value the life of the infant more than the fetus? That one murder is somehow worse than the other? The video implies this is the case – the protesters seem to concede that abortion is not equivalent to homicide under the law.
It’s an interesting point to consider. If these protestors say abortion is the taking of a human life, then why should the punishment differ from a first-degree murder charge? Have the protestors contradicted their own argument here?
Of course, It’s also necessary to consider the choices the journalist made when compiling this video. He may have spoken to five or 20 more people than he included in the final footage, any or all of whom may have given a thoughtful answer to his question. He has also targeted more extreme abortion opponents whose views may not reflect those of the broader anti-abortion mindset. The viewers only see what he chose for them to see – a group of protesters who apparently contradict themselves. Any responses he received that contradicted his point may have been omitted.
So the question remains: if abortion were illegal, how to punish women who had one anyway?