Hi - have read jail time for abortion

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Hi - have read jail time for abortion
115
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 11:39am

Hi, haven't been here in a long time; I hope I'm not starting a duplicate thread but I don't see this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20010696/site/newsweek/ discussed anywhere already . . .

The link above is to Anna Quindlen's article regarding the astonishment a PL feels when confronted with the question of how much jail time a woman should get if she were to have an abortion under illegal circumstances. I thought it was a very interesting point. However, I am PL, and I don't have difficulty with the notion of prescribing jail time if abortion were criminalized (as I think it should be). I would imagine there is jail time now for a person who is not a doctor to perform an abortion - surely there is a sentence for that? If not, I still don't have difficulty with the idea that anyone who participates in an abortion getting jail time. It's only consistent with my position, as Quindlen accurately points out.

Comments? I'm sure those on the other side will be annoyed by my opinion but please don't be nasty, it is a debate after all. Thanks -- Kao

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2003
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 12:08pm

I remember this being discussed a while back, but it's interesting enough to warrant a second debate IMO!

Many PLers agree that many of the women seeking abortion need help, not prosecution. That actually lends credence to the PL stance IMO.

I think it is just as ridiculous to suggest a woman be jailed for having an illegal abortion as it was to send a suicidal individual to jail for attempting to take his/her own life. So what if the woman who undergoes an illegal abortion is not taking "her" own life. The fact remains that it is her body undergoing the rigor of pregnancy, and she has an absolute right to refuse that.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2005
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 1:19pm

Well, what would you be jailing these women for? Illegally obtaining a medical procedure, or the death of the embryo/fetus?

If it's illegally obtaining a medical procedure, we as a society don't really do that. We prosecute doctors who illegally offer medical procedures, but not the people who pay to get them.

If you're talking about murder or manslaughter charges, sigh... Do we really want to go down the road of women doing fifteen or twenty to life for having abortions?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 1:23pm

>I would imagine there is jail time now for a person who is not a doctor to perform an abortion - surely there is a sentence for that?<


Yes, there is, but mostly that is covered under laws that prevent one from practicing medicine without a license.


>However, I am PL, and I don't have difficulty with the notion of prescribing jail time if abortion were criminalized (as I think it should be).<


Then the question is: How much jailtime should a woman who obtains an abortion serve? Should it be a felony, which could make it difficult for the woman to get certain jobs, etc., or a misdemeanor? Do we vary the sentence based on length of pregnancy before termination? How do we determine if a woman's miscarriage was not a self-induced abortion? Do we prosecute a woman for going to another state or country to obtain a legal abortion? Do we make exceptions for the age of the individual--say, instead of prison time sentence a teen to a juvenile facility? Do we make exceptions for rape and incest and the health/life of the mother and severe disability/deformity of the fetus?

Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2007
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 4:28pm

"I would imagine there is jail time now for a person who is not a doctor to perform an abortion - surely there is a sentence for that? If not, I still don't have difficulty with the idea that anyone who participates in an abortion getting jail time. It's only consistent with my position, as Quindlen accurately points out."

There is some type of a law about performing abortions when not qualified. Here in Indianapolis a couple years ago a 17-year-old girl was right about full term, 32-33 weeks I believe, and she decided she didn't want the baby anymore. The father stomped on her stomach and killed the baby. He was charged with murder, and she got off without any charges. She admitted she told him to do it, but her actions still fell under the right to abort. His actions were murder. I will see if I can find a link to the article. It was some years back, but I remember being very fasinated by the case and reading everything I could about it.

Ella Grayce

Lilypie1st Birthday Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
Mon, 07-30-2007 - 4:39pm

In Latin America, there's an intermediate sort of sentance for the abortion provider, in the range of 5-10 years but I don't know how they classify the crime. A shorter sentance for the woman, something like 3-5 years.

How did they used to prosecute it, prior to Roe v Wade?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2005
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 8:07am
Would there be a reduced sentence, or indeed an acquital, for women who used contraception because that is a clear indication that they don't consent to pregnancy?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 8:37am

I'm not a criminal justice expert, but I would suggest the same range of sentences that a woman who intentionally kills her born child would get. I could see it being anywhere from a few years to decades, depending on mitigating circumstances or the severity of the circumstances.

I think that is something a state legislature could decide if it chose to, but as to my personal opinion, I don't think it's particularly relevant how long the pregnancy is.

I don't know that we could, certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt. We're not going to catch every criminal act in society.

No, it sounds like you're talking about going outside our particular jurisdiction.

I could see that happening, just as it happens in the case of other crimes committed by minors.

Again, I would imagine individual state legislatures could choose to make exceptions, but I think it's illogical to do so. If it's necessary to save the mother's life, then yes I think an exception should be made because we would be weighing two equally compelling rights: the right of the mother to live vs. the right of the fetus to live. Otherwise, all you are doing is saying that the value of a person (or fetus if you prefer) depends on the circumstances of their conception or their lack of handicaps. We don't do that to born people, so I think it is illogical to do that to unborn fetuses.

Thanks for your questions, they were good ones. Please feel free to pose more. Unfortunately I can't post all throughout the day but I'll try to come back to answer them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 8:39am
Excellent question. I don't know myself.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 8:42am
That is absolutely horrible. Stomped it like it's a bug or something. Disgusting. That's the kind of circumstance I think should get a loooooooong sentence. That is true depravity.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 8:49am

No. It's inconsistent treatment. Either it is a person who is entitled to live regardless the circumstances of its conception or it is just a blob with no rights. I think you pretty much have to choose one or the other. If it is just a blob with no rights, then I would have to be pro-choice, because it is not society's business how that blob got there. If it is a person who is entitled to protection under the law, then it does not matter how he or she got here.

If a child is born, we don't have this conversation about whether or not its mother or father did everything they were "supposed to" to prevent it from being conceived in the first place. We know it's wrong for a born child to be killed, regardless of how it got here. I'm not pro-life because I want to punish people for having unprotected sex or any other kind of sex. I don't care about their sex life. That part is none of my business. What is my business is the protection of vulnerable people; just as I can't stand by silently and watch a child get beaten, or an elderly person get smothered, I can't just not care when a fetus is aborted. I have an obligation as a member of society to *at least* speak up for those who can't protect themselves.

Thanks for your question -- Kao

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