Illinois action blog

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Religion & Abortion

Our opposition usually states that they aren't harassing women, but merely praying outside the clinics. They use pulpits to spread word that a clinic is opening up and protests will occur. They use the Bible as their justification for opposing not just abortion but birth control. But are they right?

Garry Wills asks this question in his book, Head and Heart: American Christianities. In Martin Marty's discussion of the book he states that:
Wills contends, "It is not demonstrable that killing fetuses is killing persons. Not even the Evangelicals act as if it were. In that case, the woman seeking the abortion…is killing her own child." If the fetus is regarded as a person, why would the murderous mother be exempt from the death penalty, in which most Evangelicals believe? And many Evangelicals allow abortion in the case of rape or incest. That won't work: "We do not kill people because they had a criminal parent." Some allow for abortion to save a life. Wills asks, "Why should the mother be preferred over the 'child' if both are, equally, persons?" Why opt for the "certitude" of murder over only the "danger of death?"
This question of 'punishment' is at the center of the movement to criminalize women's health care. If you haven't seen it, there is an excellent video made in Libertyville, Illinois asking anti-choice protesters what the sentence would be for illegal abortions. Most have no idea, many have never thought about the sentence for illegal abortions. As much as the opposition would like to think that women are forced or talked into abortions, we aren't. We are agents in our lives.

In September, Feministing reported that one anti-choicer DID come up with a sentence - 15 years to life. Of course, he does recognize that women are making this choice themselves. I guess that's a bit of progress.

technorati tages: religion, abortion, bible, Martin Marty, University of Chicago, Garry Wills

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Blogger Bill Baar said...

Here's Mexican law per HRW,

Abortion has constituted a crime in Mexico at least since 1931. The initial federal law, still on the books, makes abortion punishable with one to three years of imprisonment when carried out with the pregnant woman’s consent and three to six years when carried out without consent. Both women and abortion practitioners can be prosecuted for this crime. The 1931 penal code waives all criminal penalties for abortion after rape where the pregnant woman’s life would be endangered by a continued pregnancy or where the abortion is the result of negligent behavior on the part of the pregnant woman.

Considering abortion was illegal in the US for a good 100 years before Roe, it seems like there would be plenty of history to look back too. Whether those will be the penalities in the future who knows.

October 16, 2007 at 6:52 AM  

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