How Much Time Should Women Spend In Prison For Having Abortions?

There's one Anna in publishing that we admire, and her name is Quindlen, not Wintour. The former NY Times Op-Ed columnist and current Newsweek contributor has a fascinating story in the latest issue of the newsweekly about a video created by the peace-and-justice activist group AtCenterNetwork, in which anti-abortion activists in Libertyville, Illinois were asked the simple but provocative question: If abortion were made illegal, how much jail time should a woman get for having one? The answers given were, well, revealing. As Quindlen put it:

You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It's as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations.


No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, we're sure you'll think differently about things once you see AtCenterNetwork's video, which we've excerpted above (the clip in its entirety can be seen here) and read Quindlen's piece. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

How Much Jail Time? [Newsweek]
Libertyville Abortion Demonstration [YouTube]



Let it first be noted that I didn't watch the video, because I'm at work, and am therefore responding more to the comments than to the video.

Let it also be noted that I am not looking to advance my own views on abortion here, because while I have been known to "rock the boat" around here, that is one bee's nest that I have no interest in poking.

1. I understand the complaint many of you have, that it seems hypocritical that pro-lifers can't answer this question. But, if they all had come back immediately and said "The women should go to jail," I'd bet most of you would attack them for being cruel. This is one of those questions that a pro-lifer simply can't answer adequately, because whatever answer they give could be criticized.

I suppose a hesitancy to want women who get abortions to be punished may demonstrate a subconscious belief that maybe abortion is okay, but I doubt it. There are plenty of times when someone commits a crime, and while we don't deny that it was a crime, we hesitate to punish the "criminal" harshly. It's simply a recognition of the difficult circumstances in which the act was performed, not a denial that the act was a crime.

2. In regards to the "They think it's murder, but they shouldn't force their views on others": this argument has never made sense to me. Logically, if all murder is illegal, and abortion is murder, then abortion must be made illegal. It's one thing to argue against their reasons for claiming that abortion is murder, but it would be hypocritical to claim that abortion is murder while agreeing that it should be legal.

3. Roe v. Wade should be overturned, because that's not a decision which should have been made by unelected judges. Laws, especially ones as important to the American people as abortion, must be made by the Congress, not by judges. Congress should decide whether abortion is legal or not, and its decision should probably be in the form of a Constitutional amendment. (okay, that's my own view, but it has more to do with the nature of the issue than with my opinion about that issue).