Having read both Calvin Freiburger’s excellent piece on Abortion (Leftists: Being Pro-Life is Selfish, Good People Endorse Murder), and David Swindle’s response (Murder? Having Your Cake and Eating it Too on Abortion Rhetoric), I can only say that we are getting caught up in semantics when the real issue is what legal protections we should give to the weakest among us.
Mr. Swindle challenges Mr. Freiburger’s belief that abortion is “murder” by asking if it really is:
“Calvin and I have debated amongst ourselves about this point before with me pointing out: ‘Well if abortion is murder then that means that every woman who has an abortion is a murderer, no different than a mother who hires an assassin to slit her toddler’s throat. So such women should spend life in prison or get the death penalty, right?’
“Most anti-abortion advocates with whom I’ve dialogued don’t agree to this. In their idealized world in which abortion has been criminalized it’s only the doctors who would be charged with the crime of murder. The women seeking abortions are absolved of the crime — at least in the years following abortion’s criminalization — because they’ve been sold the lie that their fetus isn’t a person, thus they don’t know they’re committing murder. But the doctor knows enough to know what he’s doing is murder. That’s basically Calvin’s position.
“I accepted Calvin’s explanation for awhile but I don’t anymore. And here’s why: if someone doesn’t know that the person they’re killing is a person and they’re not doing it with malice then it’s not ‘murder’. It’d be ‘manslaughter.’
“The crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.”
As far as I’m concerned, that’s just parsing definitions, when the real crux of the matter is simple: Do we, as a civil and just society, owe the unborn the chance to become thinking and producing members of our society? Whether a fetus is a life now seems to me to be beside the point. We can at least all agree that it will become life if not interfered with.
Just as the Federal and state criminal codes have a place for 1st and 2nd degree murder (as well as manslaughter), and look at a myriad of factors before handing out a sentence, the end result is that there are consequences for the elimination of a life, or even a potential life.
Or is it not double homicide (or double manslaughter, depending on the situation) when a pregnant woman is killed, either with “malice aforethought” or via carelessness?
The bottom line is that true Conservatives should always chafe under tyranny, and agitate to end it, once and for all. And what is more tyrannical than a set of laws that allows the all-powerful state to prey on those that have absolutely no voice?
Abortion should be a crime. Call it whatever crime you want, legislate the penalties that free-thinking people can agree upon, but there should never be an excuse for preventing, as Mr. Freiburger puts it, “an entire lifetime of unpredictable potential from being realized.”