If you keep up with the abortion debate, then you know that one of the tactics that is often used by pro-abortionists is to ask the question, “If abortion were criminalized, should we punish the mothers? If so, how?” I guess the goal is to make pro-lifers look cruel by showing that they "hate" women. This question was posed to Donald Trump by Chris Matthews as he was running for president in 2016, and his answer was that women should be punished, although he didn’t specify what the punishment should be. After he was criticized for his answer by those on the right and on the left, he “clarified” his position, saying that what he meant was that if abortion were outlawed, it is the doctor who should be punished (you can read the transcript of the exchange HERE).
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, seems to take the same position – while abortion should be illegal, the law should focus on shutting down the industry, not punishing the women. According to Moore, the women seeking abortions are just as much the victims of abortion as are the unborn. (Read Moore’s take on the issue HERE.)
But I disagree with Moore. I think President Trump’s first answer was the right one. Our God-given sense of justice tells us that the punishment should fit the crime. So the question is what kind of crime is abortion? If abortion is criminalized, it will be because states decide that it is murder. So if the crime of abortion is murder, then shouldn’t the punishment for abortion be the punishment for murder?
Let me put it another way. What do we call it when a mother kills her six-month-old child? We call it murder. And it doesn’t matter what her reasons are. We don’t give her a pass because she might be single, or because she might be poor, or because she might be young, or because she might be a victim of rape or incest. We might feel sorry for her, but we don’t give her a pass. We certainly don’t see her as just as much a victim as her dead child. She is guilty of murder, and she should bear the full weight of the law. Now let’s compare that to abortion. If an unborn child is a human being, and if aborting an unborn child is murder, then shouldn’t the mother and the doctor be punished for murder?
The only reason that the crime of abortion should not receive the same punishment as the crime of murder is if the law does not equate abortion with murder. But if abortion is not murder, then why would it be criminalized at all?
Regardless of which road you take the abortion debate always ends up in the same place: What is it? Is it a human being, or is it just a clump of cells? If it is a human being, then abortion is murder, and murder is the most serious crime of all and should be punished as such. If it’s just a clump of cells, then an abortion is no different than the removal of a mole.
So the next time you are discussing the issue of abortion and the question of punishment comes up, get to the heart of the matter with the more important question: Is the unborn child a human being or not? If it is, then the issue is not whether to punish women for abortion, but whether to punish women for murder. I don’t want to live in a society that allows abortion, but I also don’t want to live in a society that recognizes abortion as murder but does not punish the murderer.