With the love fest going on between our newest Supreme Court Justice and the right wing kingmaker, James Dobson, the debate about abortion in America is heating up. And it's especially heating up in states where the death penalty exists, states like North Carolina, where we routinely kill people for killing other people. Which raises this question for right-to-lifers: If all abortions were to become illegal in North Carolina, what would be the penalty for the perpetrators?
Let's say North Carolina goes the route of South Dakota and prohibit abortions in virtually all instances. Then let's say your 18 year old daughter gets raped and pregnant. Then let's say your daughter becomes so distraught that she finds some RU-486 (mifepristone) on the black market and induces her own abortion. Her actions are premeditated, of course. Then let's say the local police find out about her actions, arrest her, and charge her with murder. Then let's say she is unapologetic and defiant, just the kind of criminal we love to fry here in the Old North State. Shouldn't she receive the death penalty?
Here are some facts to keep in mind as you weigh the wisdom of executing your daughter. In North Carolina, 181,360 of the 1.7 million women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2000. 66% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 19% (34,000) in induced abortions. (From Guttmacher Institute)
In my opinion, the abortion debate has historically been one involving morality and perceptions of the common good, wherein honest disagreement can exist. But now that the question of executing mothers who have abortions, the debate shifts to one of integrity and fairness. Right to lifers who believe abortion is murder must demand that your daughter receive the death penalty.
We know with certainty from centuries of experience that abortions will be carried out whether they are legal or not. If we end up with states determining abortion laws, which seems likely given Bush's Supreme Court nominees, will North Carolina join the states that make it illegal? And if that happens, how many women are we the people of North Carolina prepared to execute for premediated murder? 34,000? 3400? 340? 34?
So much for right to life.