How much jail time should women get for having an abortion?

Ann and I were sure that we had posted this video before, since it made the rounds a couple of years ago, but we can’t find it anywhere. And it’s too good not to post.
It’s resurfaced because Anna Quindlen has written an article about the National Institute of Reproductive Health’s new campaign, “How much time should she do?”, and points out how anti-choicers are hesitant to tell folks how much jail time they think women should get if abortion were to be illegal, and they got one anyway.

“They never connect the dots,” says Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. But her organization urged voters to do just that in the last gubernatorial election, in which the Republican contender believed abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. “We wanted him to tell the women of Iowa exactly how much time he expected them to serve in jail if they had an abortion,” June recalled. Chet Culver, the Democrat who unabashedly favors legal abortion, won that race, proving that choice can be a winning issue if you force people to stop evading the hard facts. “How have we come this far in the debate and been oblivious to the logical ramifications of making abortion illegal?” June says.

Indeed.

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45 Comments

  1. SamBarge
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    This is amazing, isn’t it? I’ve seen it before and it amazed me that these people never gave any thought to the fact that making abortion illegal would make the women getting abortions criminals. They want to lock up the doctors but the women should get ‘counseling’ or ‘it’s between her and god’? What kind of bullshit is that? If a person murders someone (which is what all these people are saying abrotion is) do you want them to get counseling or leave it to god to punish them? I don’t think so. When people break the law, they go to jail. How would the abortion law be any different?
    It’s almost as if (if you’re not sitting down, you’d better) they don’t think women are active agents in their lives.

  2. alexmlwallace
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    That’s an excellent question, and one that I have NEVER heard answered by a pro-life nutjob.
    Their entire mentality sickens me, and this deceptively simple question might actually make them feel sickened by themselves, too.

  3. SarahMC
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    this deceptively simple question might actually make them feel sickened by themselves
    Not likely, I’m afraid.

  4. damselinprotest
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Although my first instict was to scream MORONS, these interviews summarize my main complaint about the anti-choice movement besides them being, you know, anti-choice. These people honestly believe that making abortions illegal will stop abortions. They haven’t come up with a ‘punishment’ in their minds because the fact that there will be nearly as many illegal abortions occurring hasn’t entered their minds.
    Something the anti-choice movement will never theoretically approach is that making abortion illegal simply forces women to have unsafe, life-threatening illegal abortions. It won’t save the “lives” of fetuses, it will take the lives of women.

  5. amanda
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I used to work at PPGI for Jill June – in fact I wrote several of her speeches during my time there. She is even more inspiring in person than she is in writing. She is a true leader of the abortion rights movement.

  6. amanda
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I used to work at PPGI for Jill June – in fact I wrote several of her speeches during my time there. She is even more inspiring in person than she is in writing. She is a true leader of the abortion rights movement.

  7. Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Jill at Feministe has a great series of related questions with some good discussion, yours truly’s participation notwithstanding.

  8. Monsaroe
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I love this video. How can you protest with such passion for 5 years and not contemplate a punishment for the women that have to go through the grueling decision to abort?
    What if MY god is okay with abortion? Do I still need to follow YOUR god, I mean, country’s laws?

  9. Sara
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m speechless.

  10. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    If a woman knew she was killing her baby, then she should go to jail.
    So you should only go to jail if you believed you were killing your child, which basically means the only people that would be subject to punishment would be pro-lifers who got abortions? I LOVE that idea!
    It depends on her state of mind.
    Well no fucking shit. It’s not so black and white now, is it?

  11. Kimmy
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I love how he asks that one woman how it is she’s never thought about the women involved, and she starts talking about the “babies.” Just goes to highlight that these people don’t care about the women involved at all. Women aren’t even in the picture. They’re just the vessel (unimportant) that carries the “baby” (important) to the doctor (important) for either birth or abortion.

  12. MD
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s completely true though — these people DON’T think women are active agents in their lives. To them, they are inherently second-class, sinful and flawed and need Jesus to tell them what is right.

  13. Niobe
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    If a woman knew she was killing her baby, then she should go to jail.
    I wonder, the net is filled with sites by (Christian) women who have consecutive miscarriages running up to the dozen, should they be prosecuted too for what would (in their logic) amount to manslaughter?

  14. era4allNOW
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    haha, this totally made my day and got me laughing after receiving some bad news today. Thank you so much for this! I realize abortion is no laughing matter, but these people are a joke to me. No logic is used by these people. Simply incredulous how they function solely on emotion on a given topic for years of their lives. Anyways, thanks for the uplift!

  15. t6283798
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    JJune or someone needs to post this question to the Republican candidates via the upcoming Youtube debate (if it happens). Man I’d love to see that make the cut (wishful thinking, I know)….

  16. Heather Nan
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Between the woman and her god? Don’t you mean between women and YOUR God?
    I just graduated from Divinity School and I have a Religion, Gender and Sexuality certificate. Throughout the three years of study, I came upon frank discussions of abortion rarely, but two stuck out in my mind. One in “Rebirth of the Goddess” by Carol Christ in which she gives a theological (thealogical) argument for abortion rights in a section discussing “pro-life” terminology and essentially suggesting that abortion can be a “pro-life” decision. The other was a memoir by a Methodist minister who, while serving in a small church in a small town in Washington state, had an abortion in order to save her marriage. The marriage still failed, but having that abortion was necessary for her at the time. She didn’t preach about it though, though she writes about it now. And she writes about it not in that “I so regret it and now Jesus has showed be that forced pregnancy/birth is the way” or anything; she writes about it as an essential act in her life. Also, while in Divinity School, I met more than one woman going on to the ministry who had had abortions, support abortion rights, yet DOESN’T TALK ABOUT IT. The thing is, its okay to talk about life experiences in your sermons or essays or in adult religious education classes or even in counseling, yet clergy women aren’t being honest with their moderate to liberal churches. Okay, a lot of denominations have only had ordained women for a couple decades (mine has had ordained women for 150 years, we were the first in the US–Unitarian Universalists), but abortion (unlike issues such as dealing with alcoholic parents or depression–which clergy talk about now–is still so taboo). How many women politicians, journalists, and entertainers have had abortions, yet they’ll share rehab stories or issues of “burnt toast” in Terry Hatcher’s case (she was molested as a child), but not abortion! We need to talk about it. Be shamed no more!
    Peace

  17. la pobre habladora
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    “I wonder, the net is filled with sites by (Christian) women who have consecutive miscarriages running up to the dozen, should they be prosecuted too for what would (in their logic) amount to manslaughter?”
    Unfortunately, when the pro-lifers do start thinking about what the punishment should be it is often as scary as them not having thought at all. In my home state of Virginia a bill was proposed that would make it a crime if a woman did not report a miscarriage to the police within 12 hours.

  18. la pobre habladora
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    “I wonder, the net is filled with sites by (Christian) women who have consecutive miscarriages running up to the dozen, should they be prosecuted too for what would (in their logic) amount to manslaughter?”
    Unfortunately, when the pro-lifers do start thinking about what the punishment should be it is often as scary as them not having thought at all. In my home state of Virginia a bill was proposed that would make it a crime if a woman did not report a miscarriage to the police within 12 hours.

  19. Posted July 31, 2007 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    La Pobre: Wasn’t that called the Handmaid’s Tale Act of 2006?

  20. a_human
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Never thought about a punishment…just thought that when something became illegal it would disappear.
    Kind of like it worked for drugs!
    hurfdurf

  21. jen
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    But isn’t the question he posses now irrelevent? Given the recent Supreme Court decision, it is more likely that performing abortion will be made illegal. Therefore, the doctor would be held responsible and punished, not the patient. This allows the pro-lifers to avoid having to consider the ramifications on the women’s life completely.

  22. EG
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    This allows the pro-lifers to avoid having to consider the ramifications on the women’s life completely.
    Which always has been their preferred MO.

  23. Posted July 31, 2007 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    It says the video is no longer available – what happened?

  24. Mina
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Also, don’t some other physical conditions look on the outside like early-term abortions?
    Hmm.
    “Once you have vaginal bleeding after 3 months of no periods, should the police investigate? If the don’t, then for all they know it’s not perimenopause and they’re letting you get away with abortion…”

  25. UnBecoming
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know why anyone’s suprised at this. These people don’t use logic. Their answers are prepared for them in little packets and pamphlets, flyers with pictures of dead babies that came from no where and have no background. Is anyone amazed that these people can’t answer the question? They haven’t been told the answer yet. The most pathetic sound in the world is a mouth moving without a functioning brain behind it. Makes me believe in retroactive abortion.

  26. UnBecoming
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Handmaid’s Tale Act. Named for the Margaret Atwood novel? Frightening and appropriate. I hope they actually read the book, and appreciate the irony of it. Was that named by the writers or the opposers?

  27. CaitsDay
    Posted July 31, 2007 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    i’m also getting “video is no longer available”
    does anyone have the direct youtube link?

  28. BWA
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    “proving that choice can be a winning issue if you force people to stop evading the hard facts” This is a quote from Jessica’s post at the top, which she included from Jill June, of Planned Parenthood. It’s been my understanding that the pro-choice side has come so far in the public debate by appealing to emotional issues and avoiding cold “fact” discussions. While I’ve heard many strong arguments concerning the rights of women to control their own bodies, I’ve never heard a convincing argument that a baby is actually part of a woman’s body that she could control. Different DNA = Different person…How you answer this idea has tremendous implications for what type of punishment should be given (or not) for an abortion.

  29. BWA
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    “proving that choice can be a winning issue if you force people to stop evading the hard facts” This is a quote from Jessica’s post at the top, which she included from Jill June, of Planned Parenthood. It’s been my understanding that the pro-choice side has come so far in the public debate by appealing to emotional issues and avoiding cold “fact” discussions. While I’ve heard many strong arguments concerning the rights of women to control their own bodies, I’ve never heard a convincing argument that a baby is actually part of a woman’s body that she could control. Different DNA = Different person…How you answer this idea has tremendous implications for what type of punishment should be given (or not) for an abortion.

  30. EG
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    While I’ve heard many strong arguments concerning the rights of women to control their own bodies, I’ve never heard a convincing argument that a baby is actually part of a woman’s body that she could control. Different DNA = Different person
    It’s been my understanding that the pro-forced-birth side has come so far in the public debate by blatantly evading basic facts of life. The uterus, digestive system, circulatory system, and all other bits of anatomy that pregnancy commandeers are actually part of the woman’s body. So, if she wishes to maintain the status quo regarding her body, the medications she takes, and her biochemistry, she gets to have an abortion.

  31. EG
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Here’re some stats that you might want to consider.
    According to the Guttmacher institute, “In 2002, 1.29 million abortions took place.” So those who wish to criminalize abortion believe that those 1.29 million women deserve jailtime or some other punishment–and that’s just from one year. Of those 1.29 million women, 60% are mothers, and 67% have never been married–it doesn’t take too much to realize then that imprisoning those women is going to put a significant number of kids in the foster-care system.
    Just to help people better visualize what these people are advocating.

  32. Posted August 1, 2007 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    DNA = Different person

    Not always. “Chimeric” intersexed individuals have two different sets of DNA depending on what part of the body you sample from. If different DNA reduced one’s right to control a part of one’s own body, chimerics would have a very hard time consenting to any kind of major surgery.

  33. PamelaV
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    are these people really so pro-forced birth that they’d rip apart families?
    please someone link to the video?

  34. Mina
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    “Not always. “Chimeric” intersexed individuals have two different sets of DNA depending on what part of the body you sample from. If different DNA reduced one’s right to control a part of one’s own body, chimerics would have a very hard time consenting to any kind of major surgery.”
    Meanwhile, identical twins do have the same DNA as each other and are still separate people.

  35. ghostorchid
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    HERE IS THE LINK TO THE VIDEO:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk6t_tdOkwo
    Hope that helps. It’s an alive link as of 8:07am, since the other is down.

  36. BWA
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Twins – This is one of the better arguments I’ve heard, but unfortunately it is backwards. We consider identical twins different people despite the fact that they have the same DNA. We don’t say that one twin has a right to control and make decisions for the other twin because they have the same DNA. Also, this seems to be a bit of a red herring, because it isn’t quite relevant to our current discussion, about how the distinctions between mother and child in utero relate to a mother’s right to decide whether to birth or abort the child.
    For the “Chimeric” argument: #1 – this is an extremely rare situation, with very few documented cases. #2 – Even if someone had two types of DNA in them, both would be contained in their body parts. That one person would be responsible for both sets, as those sets of DNA could belong to no one else. In the case of a non-chimeric pregnant woman, every part of her body contains one set of DNA. Her arms, legs, heart, lungs, etc. all have one set of DNA; while the other set of DNA due to her pregnancy belongs to another, smaller, less developed, set of lungs, arms, and legs; with a different heart beat and brain activity.
    I recently graduated from a university where reproductive rights were a lively topic of debate on campus, and I never heard even a partially satisfactory answer to the idea that “different DNA = different person, and they should be treated as such”. I would still like to hear a good argument if anybody has one.

  37. BWA
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Twins – This is one of the better arguments I’ve heard, but unfortunately it is backwards. We consider identical twins different people despite the fact that they have the same DNA. We don’t say that one twin has a right to control and make decisions for the other twin because they have the same DNA. Also, this seems to be a bit of a red herring, because it isn’t quite relevant to our current discussion, about how the distinctions between mother and child in utero relate to a mother’s right to decide whether to birth or abort the child.
    For the “Chimeric” argument: #1 – this is an extremely rare situation, with very few documented cases. #2 – Even if someone had two types of DNA in them, both would be contained in their body parts. That one person would be responsible for both sets, as those sets of DNA could belong to no one else. In the case of a non-chimeric pregnant woman, every part of her body contains one set of DNA. Her arms, legs, heart, lungs, etc. all have one set of DNA; while the other set of DNA due to her pregnancy belongs to another, smaller, less developed, set of lungs, arms, and legs; with a different heart beat and brain activity.
    I recently graduated from a university where reproductive rights were a lively topic of debate on campus, and I never heard even a partially satisfactory answer to the idea that “different DNA = different person, and they should be treated as such”. I would still like to hear a good argument if anybody has one.

  38. PamelaV
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I finally saw the video itself. No one had an answer. The last lady got caught in her lack of logic so she got mad :)
    Wonderful video

  39. EG
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I never heard even a partially satisfactory answer to the idea that “different DNA = different person, and they should be treated as such”. I would still like to hear a good argument if anybody has one.
    Oh dear God, save us from college seniors. I note that you completely ignore the fact that every aspect of a woman’s body is dramatically changed by pregnancy and that she therefore has the right to prevent and end such changes.
    But OK, let’s treat it like a different person. There is this completely separate, different person in my body! I have told it and told it to leave, and it persists in occupying me against my will! How is that acceptable? I want it out, and I want it out now.
    If I invite somebody over to my apartment, I can tell that person when it is time for him to leave. If he doesn’t, I can insist. And if he continues to refuse, let along seizes control of my reproductive, circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems and attempts to control what medications I take, I can call the cops and have him thrown out on his ass, even if he has nowhere else to go. So why should I have fewer rights to my body than to my apartment?

  40. Posted August 1, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I read about the video in Quindlen’s column but what I found curious was the online version (at least as of Tuesday) had no link to the video.
    I thought that was curious so I tracked down the video and eventually interviewed the creator because I was curious how and why it was made.
    That clip does have a long history.
    http://realwomenvoices.blogspot.com/2007/07/newsweek-youtube-and-abortion-mini-doc.html

  41. Posmok
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Funny, I always thought the death penalty would apply… It kinda relates w/their way of thinking.

  42. nnodnar
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Different DNA = different person? If I come across someone lying in the street who isn’t breathing, with vomit and blood coming out of their mouth, I don’t have to breathe for them. Even though doing so may keep them alive until help comes, if I think it puts my life at an unacceptable risk, I don’t have to do it.

  43. Posted August 1, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    What pisses me off the most is that these people make it their life’s mission to take away the right to my body, and they haven’t even thought about what would, could, or should happen if they succeed. They don’t give a shit about anything but their own peace of mind.

  44. Posted August 1, 2007 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    And another thing.
    The question I would want to ask those people holding signs would be “How old is the fetus in that picture?” Looks like a stillborn to me.

  45. BWA
    Posted August 1, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    EG – I’ve simply posted an argument that I’ve heard to be discussed. Mocking the argument doesn’t make it less true. I’m not a “college senior”, I just finished graduate school. If you would like to demonstrate your intellectual superiority over me, don’t mock my education, simply defeat the argument.
    You have made a tremendous logical jump in asserting that “every aspect of a woman’s body is dramatically changed by pregnancy and that she therefore has the right to prevent and end such changes.” You have provided no logical evidence to show that changes occurring in a woman’s body give her the right to stop whatever is causing the change – in this case, a pregnancy.
    Secondly, you certainly don’t have a right to end the existence of the gentleman in your apartment, if all he is doing is refusing to leave. If you want to take this (almost entirely irrelevant) example futher, it may help to point out that unless a person trespassing in your home is putting you in immediate danger (ie – attacking you) you may not cause him any harm. ex: A man breaks into my house, I hear a noise, come downstairs and he simply stands still with no visible weapon – if I shoot him I will be guilty of no less than manslaughter.

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