Of Course Women Will Be Punished if Abortion is Illegal

When Donald Trump said the other day that women who have abortions should be punished if the procedure is banned, it raised many eyebrows. Predictably, on the left, because it’s an appalling thing to suggest; and, if I had to guess, on the right because that’s one of those things you’re not supposed to say out loud. (Not that Trump is the only anti-abortion zealot to have missed that memo.)

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But, as appalling as the idea is, this wasn’t actually one of the crazier things Trump has suggested — at least, not if you take “pro-life” ideology seriously. After all, if abortion is treated like — if it is — murder, as the pro-life movement argues, of course there have to be penalties associated with it. That’s just logical.

That’s exactly what Jill Filipovic argues in a truly brilliant piece at TIME:

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FDA Updates Abortion Drug Guidelines To Be More Scientifically Accurate, Angering “Pro-Lifers”

Last year in May, Danco Laboratories, which makes the abortion-inducing drug Mifeprex (mifepristone), filed paperwork with the FDA to update the guidelines for use of the drug. Give further research on how it works, they wanted to loosen the restrictions on who could use it and when.

The political implications were certainly not lacking — anti-abortion lawmakers throughout the country have passed laws to enforce strict adherence to the guidelines (which in this case were simply not accurate anymore) rather than deferring to medical experts. But to the surprise of many, the guidelines were indeed updated. Politics had nothing to do with it. Instead, the basis for the change was — wait for it — scientific progress.

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Christian Extremist: Women Who Have Abortions Are “Sluts” Who Deserve the Death Penalty

I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that Donald Trump thinks (at least for a few minutes) that abortion should be banned and women who then have them should be punished in some way he hasn’t determined yet.

It could be worse. Christian extremist and one-man hate group Theodore Shoebat says that women who have abortions are “sluts” who deserve the death penalty:

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Anti-Choice Activist Says Women Should Absolutely Be Punished for Having Abortions

We know conservatives want to see legalized abortion banned. We know conservatives frequently call abortion “murder.” Hell, abortion providers have been assassinated by Christians for helping people with a procedure that, by the way, plenty of evangelical women have obtained.

After all that, is it really any surprise that Donald Trump, who never bothered to study these issues that he suddenly cares so much about, would say that women have to be punished for having an abortion if the ban ever went into effect?

It’s simply the logical end to all that conservative rhetoric: Abortion is murder, and murderers must be punished.

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At least “Coach” Dave Daubenmire, an anti-choice conservative, is consistent on this matter. He wants abortion banned. When that happens, he wants women who have abortions punished. And he thinks Donald Trump — at least the version of Trump who didn’t “clarify” his comments later — is the “most pro-life candidate of them all.”

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What Donald Trump Said About Abortion Was Bad; What He Said After That Was Worse

By now, you know that Donald Trump told Chris Matthews yesterday that he believes abortion should be banned and that, if that were to happen, women who had abortions deserved “some form of punishment.

He didn’t specify what that punishment would be. And he later backtracked, saying it’s the doctors in that situation who should be punished, not the women. Both comments were disturbing. But if you’re looking for a positive spin on the issue, maybe it’s that Trump has never given much thought to this issue, and his comments were based less on conviction and more on what he thought conservatives wanted to hear. Maybe he didn’t really mean what he said.

That wasn’t the only thing that disturbed me about his response, though. What he said afterwards was arguably worse.

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