Sunday, August 05, 2007

On women, abortion and jailtime

Jivin' Jehoshaphat quotes O. Carter Snead's piece on the issue in a National Review symposium.

There is no "logical necessity" that ties the hands of lawmakers from invoking the familiar concept of immunity. One can imagine several perfectly defensible reasons for pro-life legislators to target abortionists rather than women. For one thing, abortionists are arguably more culpable in principle: they directly perform the lethal action; they are more fully aware that they are snuffing out a human life in process; they are not laboring under any duress; and they perform abortions for profit. As a prudential matter, prosecuting abortionists seems a sufficient means to ending the practice of abortion. Also, abortion is like a vice crime in that there is not likely to be a complaining witness. Immunizing one of the parties removes a powerful disincentive for confessions. Finally, it does seem that the public is more willing to accept a law that punishes doctors rather than mothers. Pro-lifers can thus achieve their goal of ending abortion without provoking a political backlash. That is neither unprincipled nor unwise. Frankly, it seems like good politics for a pluralistic society."

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