A few weeks ago in her Newsweek column, Anna Quindlen used as a launch point a YouTube video that asked pro-life demonstrators to comment on how much jail time women should receive for having an abortion, if abortion were illegal. Ultimately, Quindlen constructs the following false dichotomy: “hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place.”
Quindlen misunderstands what most abortion opponents seek. We’re not looking to further victimize women. They already are victimized, by abortion — frequently pressured into it, frequently not knowing there’s help out there for them if they want to keep the baby, frequently suffering in silence for years after the abortion. Perhaps nothing better illustrates the compassionate approach pro-lifers have toward women who find themselves seeking abortion than the “Women Deserve Better” message of Feminists for Life.
Quindlen’s question plays into the-sky-will-fall-and-backalleys-and-coathangers-will-be-the-rule-of-the-land image of a United States the day after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Headlines will trumpet a new world of oppression for American women, being carted off to jail in their most desperate moments. In truth, the Court would have put the abortion decision in the hands of the people, where it should have been all along. And federalism will reign, as state after state would decide for itself what to do.