Thursday, November 06, 2008

How would you write an anti-abortion statute?

I have some questions about how anti-abortion laws are supposed to go. First, can you get away with exempting the mother from criminal punishment. Albert Fall, in the Teapot Dome scandal, got convicted for taking a bribe that the person who gave the bribe, Doheny, was acquitted for giving. The 2006 South Dakota statute, referenced in this post, seems guilty of this sort of absurdity.

Second, if the grounds for objecting to abortion is that it is murder, and there really is no moral difference between killing a fetus and killing a born infant, then shouldn't these acts be prosecuted under the statute against murder, which means that whatever mandatory sentences are in place have to apply. (No community service, in other words).

How were abortion laws written prior to Roe. Can abortion be regarded as a separate crime from murder if it is murder?

Now these are questions. Please treat them as such. There may be good answers to them.

I am quite sure that anti-abortion laws would result in an enforcement nightmare. This bothers the utilitarian in me. But the deontologist answer is, of course, that if something ought to be outlawed, difficulties in enforcing the law should not be a reason to keep it legal.

5 comments:

Mike Darus said...

This a really good question. What do we really want? We want fewer abortions (none is the best of all worlds).

A shortcut to solve this issue is for abortion to be recognized in our culture as a moral evil and have laws passed against it. This would accomplish all the necessary goals. We will have done our duty to rid the world of this evil. If the punishment is severe enough for the women and the doctors, no one will dare to resort to this terrible action.

Enacting these laws also gives us a sense of victory. In our cultural battle over ethics, the group that gets their law passed is considered the winner. We want to win. If we win and they lose, then we are also the saviors of our world.

The long way would be to create a community where abortion was not necessary. Every pregancy is planned, wanted, and celebrated with joy. There are no agonizing moments when a fetus is diagnosed with a terrible disease. Sexual activities are contained within monogamous marriages with contented partners. There is no adultery or prostitution to create embarrassing situations. There is no jealousy or discontent about marriage partners.

Creating this community without the need for abortion will take a lot of work. But remember, even when we attain it for one generation, we will need to attain it again for each generation. It is quite an uphill fight. It will take a miracle.

legodesi said...

I think abortion, if it's a crime, is more like manslaughter than it is like murder.

Victor Reppert said...

Why? The mother clearly intends to kill the fetus.

And you don't get community service for manslaughter.

CheekyGeek said...

Whether something is "legal" or NOT should have no bearing on a Christian's actions or attitudes, as s/he is moved by God's higher laws. (Example: The prophet Daniel continued his practice of praying to God even after it was outlawed by decree. This concept was affirmed in the Christian Greek Scriptures at Acts 5:29).

Therefore, whether abortion is legal or not is the responsibility of the government. Whether someone (legally or illegally) seeks or gets (or performs) an abortion is something that THEY (not I) must answer for (before the law and God). "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls." Romans 14:4

Legislation is what the Pharisees were good at. Each rule led to more rules. Jesus condemned them for missing the point and putting heavy loads on others. They missed the bigger picture and the same mistake is being made by many so-called Christians today.

Getting involved in the disputes of politics is simply another way to be distracted by "the god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4)

The only person that a Christian can properly hope to control is themselves, and that only with the help that God provides. To do more than that is to overstep one's scriptural authority and to attempt to "lord it over" another's faith (or as the New Living Translation puts it, "But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice."

jason said...

cheeky geek ... that is one of the most compelling arguments I have ever seen put forth on abortion. thank you.