So, based upon Trump’s recent statements about abortion being illegal and women have to pay a “penalty” for getting an abortion, and the backlash due to his statements:

If a woman chooses to have an abortion, and it’s legal, it’s her choice.

If a woman chooses to have an abortion, and it’s illegal, she’s a victim.

I’m pro-choice, and even I see a severe inconsistency here. If a woman choose to have an abortion, its her choice, either way. She’s never a victim, except maybe of circumstance.

Anyway, I’m in no way in favor of abortion being illegal, but this is ridiculous. Madness even.

The only thing Donald Trump believes in with any consistency or sincerity is the greatness of Donald Trump. All else is jello.

Fixed that for you.

Your argument is correct, but trivial. Trying to reconcile Trump’s statements leads to inconsistency? Who would have thought?

This Thread has nothing to do with Trump. It’s about the issue he raised. Would you guys get off your Trump bashing bandwagon. I don’t care about Trump.

Then what is your debate, exactly?


Yeah, I’m lost, too.

Read the OP.

Dems and Reps are ripping the position that women should be punished for getting abortions, if abortions were illegal. If a woman chooses to get an abortion, who’s responsible? Regardless of legality. It’s the woman choice either way.

Well, yeah, the position that fundamental rights include a pregnant woman’s right to choose a (pre-viability) abortion does imply that making abortion illegal is unjust to women.

In other words, a woman who wants to exercise her right to choose an abortion but is prevented by law from doing so is a victim of injustice.

What is it exactly that you find “ridiculous” about that?

There’s a logical inconsistency in there…

This is not about whether abortion SHOULD be illegal, whether it “right” or when it should be done.

What if it was phrased instead as…

It’s illegal for men over 30 to ride in a taxi.
As a 40+ male I then take a ride in a taxi
Why is it ok that the taxi driver gets punished and I don’t?

Wouldn’t it be more logical that I, as the one asking for a ride, also face some sort of punishment for committing what I know to be a crime?

Oh, I see. Yes, it’s inconsistent to criminalize abortion but only penalize abortion providers and not women who get abortions.

But this has long been the position advocated by a substantial part of the anti-abortion movement, since they think they’ll get more support for outlawing abortion if it doesn’t require jailing hundreds of thousands of women annually for terminating their pregnancy.

Well, not necessarily.

When someone describes themselves as “pro-choice”, what that mostly means is that they don’t believe the law should constrain a woman from having an abortion, or that they don’t believe the law should constrain a woman from having an abortion, except in cases where that person believes constraints are justifiable (e.g. third-trimester abortions).

But, given the legal regime that a pro-choice person would favour, it doesn’t follow that every woman who has an abortion does so by her own choice. (Or that every women who doesn’t have an abortion does so by her own choice.) Law is just one of the constraints that might affect her. Even if the law is permissive, her actions may still be influenced by the desires, expectations and pressures of others - the man by whom she became pregnant, her family, wider society - or by other influences - e.g. economic constraints.

Hence, given a “pro-choice” law, it’s not the case that every woman who has an abortion does so by her own unconstrained choice, or that every woman who carries a pregnancy to term does so by her own unconstrained choice.

You could, as Kimstu points out, make a stronger case in defence of the second proposition. If a woman would prefer to have an abortion, and the law constrains her in a way that make it impossible to do so, or more difficult than it otherwise would be, then she is adversely affected by that law and can be said to be a victim of it.

But I don’t think that’s the sense in which “victimhood” is being suggested here. Whenever somobody advocates greater legal restrictions on abortion, they face the obvious question “are you proposing to jail women who have abortions?”, and they nearly always answer “no”. And if asked if that is not a teeny bit inconsistent, they will suggest (or the OP thinks they will suggest) that such women are best seen as victims, not perpetrators, which is why they shouldn’t be punished.

I agree that this wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Such a woman might be a victim of pressures that she cannot control, of oppression by others, but there is no a priori reason to assume that she is.

On the other hand, we note that there are already circumstances in which abortion is legally restricted - e.g. in the third trimester - and these restrictions aren’t generally enforced by prosecuting women who have or seek abortions that are forbidden. They are mostly enforced by measured directed against abortion providers. And this was also true when abortion was more generally forbidden.

So suggesting that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances, or in more circumstances than at present, but that women should not be prosecuted or jailed for having forbidden abortions, is not exactly novel. It’s pretty much the dominant model of restrictive abortion legislation, and definitely the one they are used to in the United States. The “woman as victim” justification for it may not entirely stand up; if that’s the OP’s point then I agree with him.

I agree with the OP. This has always been my favorite argument when confronted by someone from the anti-choice crowd.

To be clear, I am totally pro-choice, so the argument has nothing to do with what I personally believe.

Whenever an anti-choice person gets on their soapbox about abortion being murder, my first question is, “So you’re doing everything you can about that, right? You’re working to change the laws to ensure that every woman who has an abortion is prosecuted to the full extent of the law under homicide statutes, correct?”

If an embryo is a “life,” then it shouldn’t matter how that life comes into existence. It should be protected at all costs. No abortion exceptions for rape, incest or even the well-being of the mother. It’s a precious little child. So… it can only follow that any woman who elects to have an abortion is complicit in a homicide. There’s no other logical conclusion to this line of reasoning.

I can’t think of a circumstance under which a woman is a “victim” of an abortion she herself decides to have. I do, however, believe a woman can be victimized by laws that require her to be a lifelong parent for a pregnancy she did not want to carry to term.

People seem to forget that Roe v. Wade only sought to protect a woman’s right to privacy to decide with her doctor alone what to do in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, and to guarantee her a right of safety if she elected to have an abortion. It was never an imprimatur on the procedure.

If someone is going to characterize abortion as murder, then I think they need to own that characterization to its inescapable conclusion.

Possibly. But there’s a great gulf between “not pro-choice” (or “not as pro-choice as I am”) and “thinks abortion is murder”.

It’s reasonable to suggest that someone who views abortion as murder but doesn’t favour prosecuting women who have abortions is at least prima facie being inconsistent, and can reasonably be asked to explain or justify this. And “woman-as-victim” is not a good explanation or justification.

But it’s not reasonable to assume that everyone who is not [sufficiently] pro-choice regards abortion as murder. And in this context I note that you’re the first person in the thread to link this discussion to the abortion-is-murder view. The OP hasn’t mentioned that at all.

Oh, I agree with you on that. I think there are reasons to not be pro-choice and I wasn’t making that argument. But when those who are anti-choice invoke the incendiary terms of “murder,” or “homicide,” I won’t hesitate to demand they justify that stance.

NM. It’s late, I don’t read well.

We did. It wasn’t at all clear what the hell you were talking about. And the thread title didn’t help either.

Why didn’t you just say so in the first place???

Anyway, the obvious reply from the pro-life crowd is that support for punitive measures against women erodes support for abortion laws. Better to let the woman off than to not have laws restricting abortion.

Besides, women get all hormonal when they are pregnant and are easily tricked by evil feminist pro-abortion types into letting the doctor kill their baby.

That last part was mostly in jest, in case anyone is wonder.

The issue that I had with Trump’s statements were not just about the punishment, but about him saying that abortion should be banned:

Like everything he says, it’s not totally clear, and there’s no way to tell how serious he is about anything since it just sounds like he’s saying things off the top of his head, but it does sound like he’s saying abortion should be illegal.

And it’s also just annoying that he seems to realize that if abortion is made illegal then women will still get abortions, they’ll just have to go to illegal places. He realizes that and acknowledges it but doesn’t care.

But like others have said that yes, if you say that abortion should be illegal then it does logically follow that women should be punished for it. Maybe Trump is actually a good thing in this case, because he helps highlight the inconsistencies of the pro-life movement. Like Kasich said he disagrees that women should be punished, but as governor he’s been extremely anti-choice in every other possible way.

Yes, logically that does follow with the scenario you set up, but proposing a law to make it illegal for men over 30 to ride in a taxi is ridiculous, just like making abortion illegal is ridiculous.

And then he backtracks a few hours later:

If a woman even discusses it with her doctor, but doesn’t do it, maybe they could be charged with “conspiracy to commit murder,” since in most states, you don’t actually have to commit the crime for that charge to be leveled.

BTW, the “in cases of rape” is a total red herring, especially now that Plan B is available. Most women who are raped, if they believe in abortion and contraception, are going to get Plan B, even if they don’t go to the police. Women who don’t are probably not going to for two reasons: 1) they are going to be very young and not aware of their options; 2) they are going to be against abortion. If they refuse Plan B because of their abortion stance, they aren’t going to want a more complicated procedure 12 weeks late. Women who, for whatever reason, don’t avail themselves of Plan B, and 12 weeks later present themselves for a “rape exception,” are probably going to be asked for a copy of their police report. If they don’t have one, they will probably be told that as a matter of law regarding the rape exception, they were not raped.

But yeah, why not arrest and imprison every woman who has an abortion?

Mainly because that’s a lot of women. There will be a prison over-crowding crisis, and because of the age of the women arrested, probably also a childcare crisis. The average number of abortions per provider is probably pretty high-- very high as a percentage of all abortions, there are so few providers left in the country (ironically, there’d be more if it were completely illegal, I bet), but the number per woman is probably less than 2. There are woman who have had more than one, but not many. And if every woman who had one ended up in prison, there’d be even fewer women who had more than one. You have a woman eligible for prison for nearly every abortion provided.

You will need prison space for approximately 1,000,000 more inmates. If you want to sentence them like any murderer, ie, say 40-life for second degree murder, with double time for good behavior, so the possibility of being out in 20, that’s a lot of women in prison. Good luck with that.

So you see the impracticality of it. You pretty much have to figure out some way to define women out of being murderers, or lose the rhetoric.

One thing I’m certain of: this thread will not get to the bottom of things and create any consensus. This issue is rife with inconsistencies and illogical conclusions no matter which side you are on. It gets worse the more strident you are one way or the other. And the political realities are only getting worse, as it’s just about impossible to be a pro-life democrat or a pro-choice republican.

And looking for consistency or well thought-out positions from Trump is like looking for ethical behavior from Clinton.