Trump’s statements on abortion have helped me see the irrationality of those who want to make abortion illegal. First, abortion is a bad thing. It’s not something that anyone should do, and certainly should not do lightly. In most cases, I don’t think is something that a woman wants to do; it’s something that she feels forced to do by some situation. If she is a young woman just starting her own life, a baby may end her chances of improving herself by finishing school, or working hard at her first job. An older woman may feel that she is not able to cope with a baby at this later stage of her life. A woman may be married to a man who abuses her and does not want a child to grow up in that atmosphere. There are any number of reasons.
In any case, it is the woman who decides to end the pregnancy. A doctor does not just pull women off the street randomly and force abortions on the ones who are pregnant. Trump correctly stated that the woman is at least partly responsible for the abortion. She is morally guilty, if not legally guilty. Chris Matthews failed to discuss the moral issue with Trump because he is so messed up by his Catholic church’s teaching on the issue, as Trump pointed out. Chris Matthews has basically cursed his church, his God, in his heart by breaking with it on the abortion issue. He is morally damaged goods, which is part of the reason his interview was so bad.
But the fact that the woman is morally guilty does not mean that she is legally guilty. This to some extent explains Trump’s “clarification” that the law should continue to stand as it does. He’s saying that although the woman may be morally guilty, I don’t want her to be legally guilty, which is the current position of the law. Two pieces on the New York Times op-ed page defend the position that if you find abortion to be morally wrong, then you should find the woman complicit in the abortion. One reason to exempt women is probably the one pro-lifers use, that they love the woman who is under great stress. It is also likely that it is just a carryover from the old days when abortion was illegal. The charlatans who performed the illegal abortions often killed or injured the women who came to them, and thus they were properly punished for the injury they did and if nothing else, for practicing medicine without a license. When licensed doctors were penalized it might be because they were caught up in laws mainly meant to punished unlicensed practitioners.
The two op-eds are Gail Collins’ “Trump, Truth and Abortion” and Katha Politt’s “Abortion andPunishment.” Both point out the illogic of the pro-life stance that only the doctor and not the woman should be punished for a illegal abortion. Of course, if the abortion is not illegal, then nobody should be punished, neither the doctor nor the woman.