The recent headlines are startling: “Ohio Republicans Proposing Death Penalty For Abortion,” says Refinery 29. “Ohio Politician Proposes Death Penalty for Women Who Have Abortions,” reads the The Sun, a British tabloid.
Fortunately, these headlines refer to a defunct Ohio bill that never made it out of committee and had few sponsors. The bill sent to debate when these headlines were created was HB 258, in which the following section details exactly what will happen to women who procure abortions outside of the limited scope of the new law:
Sec. 2919.193 2919.198. A pregnant woman on whom an abortion is performed or induced in violation of section Revised Code is not guilty of violating any of those sections; is not guilty of attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or complicity in committing a violation of any of those sections; and is not subject to a civil penalty based on the abortion Sec. 2919.199. (A) A woman who meets either or both of the 2919.191 or 2919.192 2919.193, 2919.194, or 2919.195 sections. following criteria may file a civil action for the wrongful of the being performed or induced in violation of any of those death of her unborn child…
Not only does the statute not penalize women who choose the type of abortions that would be illegal under the new law, but it gives them recourse to sue the physician involved, should it be proven he performed an illegal abortion on the woman and her child.
Pro-Choicers Routinely Mischaracterize Pro-Life Positions
The mischaracterization of current legislation as potentially dangerous for women is another piece of pro-abortion propaganda from a progressive media. As science continues to prove the humanity of the unborn child, the case for absolute, unhindered bodily autonomy, as in the justification for abortion, weakens. We can no longer deny that a fetus is human, so abortion advocates must now promote the fetus as an “invader” to the detriment of women everywhere. This turns abortion into an action of self-defense, justifiable under any and all circumstances.
Anyone who chooses to wade into the quagmire of internet abortion debate has undoubtedly seen the unborn referred to as a “parasite.” But with the hundreds of articles falsely positioning Republicans as advocates of criminal penalties for post-abortive women, in conjunction with a similar profuseness of articles describing pregnancy as inherently dangerous—more dangerous than abortion—the fetus-as-parasite campaign seems to have been elevated to the central talking point within the context of the so-called Republican “war on women.”
Like an animal fighting for its last breath, the pro-abortion movement is struggling to fight against the life-affirming science it can’t deny. They’re trying to recapture the “pro-life generation” they lost with the advent of the internet, full of free information about fetal development. They will continue to spew more vitriol and spread more lies in an effort to turn moderates against the pro-life movement.
It’s our job to meet their dishonesty with accuracy and kindness, no matter how scandalous the headline. Today they’ve brazenly lied about the new Ohio law, and tomorrow there will be another sordid tale of evil anti-abortion legislators and activists who hate women and just want them to suffer. The “war on women” will be dredged back into the spotlight to inflame the passions of a few more women who aren’t really pro-abortion, but who are ignorant of the facts and afraid of being jailed over a missed period.
Why Pro-Lifers Don’t Support Penalizing Abortive Mothers
The reality is that, except for a few sidesteps from ignorant lawmakers and fringe anti-abortion groups, criminal penalties for post-abortive women are not promoted by pro-life groups in the U.S. (or abroad in most cases) for very practical reasons.
Primarily, if prosecution for abortion is a potential, there would be a high probability for false imprisonment when women miscarry or deliver a stillborn baby. This is currently the situation in El Salvador, where women have been in jail for a decade or more for miscarrying or delivering dead infants.
Less dangerously but certainly as relevant, many post-abortive women state they have been coerced by partners or parents into terminating a pregnancy. Women don’t generally make the decision to procure an abortion a vacuum. If we were to plan on holding women criminally liable, how do we assure other parties aren’t involved in a coercive manner? Are we going to DNA test each fetus to locate the father, who would most likely deny involvement in the abortion to avoid criminal penalty?
While researching this article, I was unable to find one instance of a man being jailed for his partner’s voluntary abortion, which would logically lead me to believe men are rarely found complicit in the destruction of their children.
This type of legislation and penalty would also potentially collapse the pro-life movement. Some of the strongest anti-abortion voices come from those of us who have had abortions, and who speak publicly, counsel women, and work quietly every day to change hearts as well as laws.
Not only would the movement lose a large proportion of the post-abortive activists, but great numbers of pro-life individuals who understand that unjust incarceration is the likely result of criminal penalties for women who procure an abortion. No real pro-lifers are going to support a law that could unintentionally end up with a grieving mother in jail for decades.
Media Deceptively Scaremongers to Harden Sentiments
Mainstream anti-abortion advocates, lobbying groups, and politicians are aware of the potential repercussions of pressing prosecution for abortion. Historically speaking, Western nations have not typically penalized women for abortions.
The U.S. government (at a state or federal level) will not be prosecuting women for abortions, and certainly will not be putting them to death. The headlines are just that: headlines, meant to catch your eye and instill a sense of fear into moderate pro-lifers and those who are caught in the middle.
While the offering of liberal news out there today has been consistently pro-choice for quite some time, this particular piece of news (and overall theme) is a most stunning example of the lengths pro-abortion activists and media will go. The outright falsehood on the parts of most major media outlets, not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of small blogs and magazines, regarding the death penalty and the Ohio bill, is a shocking reminder of how insidious a lie can be when told over and over again.
It’s also a reminder that the most egregious lies are the ones shouted the loudest, to mask the truth they’re trying to cover up: the unborn child is a human being, worthy of legal protection.