You know how a political “gaffe” is sometimes defined as when a politician tells the truth, except that it’s not something you’re supposed to say out loud because you’ll get nailed for it? Well, it looks like Donald Trump just committed a “gaffe” in that sense of the word, by stating that there would have to be punishments for women who received an abortion if and when abortion were outlawed in the United States.
So here’s the thing, though: if you are honestly “pro life” (which I strongly doubt Trump is, since he was pro-choice for most of his adult life — but that’s another discussion) and really believe abortion=murder, then of COURSE you should also believe that there should be punishment for getting an abortion (or performing one, or aiding and abetting one). If not, then you’d basically be arguing that murder shouldn’t be illegal.
Of course, it’s much easier to go around saying you’re “pro-life,” a phrase which sounds all warm and fuzzy — I mean, who is “pro-death,” other than ISIL, mass murderers, psychopaths, etc. – than to clearly state that you believe abortion is equivalent to murder. Because once you go to the latter formulation, then you’re basically obligated to seek punishments for anyone participating in that “murder” — the doctor, nurse, woman having the procedure performed on her, whoever drove the woman to the abortion clinic, the boyfriend or husband who gave his permission (or urged the woman to get the abortion), etc, etc. Which is what Trump, in his inarticulate and uniformed way, just said.
So, my question is why the media, and a lot of Democrats, have for years let people who believe abortion=murder get away with using the anodyne “pro-life” formulation? Why haven’t Democrats and reporters asked the obvious follow-up question to any politician who says they are “pro-life” — “so, Politician X, do you believe abortion is murder, and if so, what should the punishment for that murder be?”
Now, I’m on the pro-choice side of this debate, which doesn’t mean I like the concept of abortion of course. However, I do NOT believe that aborting a zygote, embryo, or fetus in very early stages of pregnancy is anything akin to “murder.” What I’d prefer is that abortion be “safe, legal and rare” — rare because there are almost no unplanned pregnancies as a result of women being empowered, effective contraceptives being cheap (or free) and easily available, sex education being universally taught, etc. Imagine a world in which there were no unwanted pregnancies? That would have a huge number of benefits, among which would be a sharp reduction in the need for abortion.
All of which raises another question, of course: why do many of the same right wingnuts who claim to be “pro-life” simultaneously oppose the measures I mentioned above, measures which we absolutely KNOW would slash the number of abortions, which the “pro-life” folks believe is equivalent to murder. Again, these are questions reporters should constantly be asking anyone who claims to be “pro-life,” yet actually votes against measures that would reduce the number of abortions.
Anyway, thanks to Donald Trump for two things today: 1) for helping Dems raise a lot of money off his “punishment” comments; 2) for lifting the veil on the charade that “pro-life” doesn’t mean “anti-abortion,” in the sense that abortion is a form of murder that should be punished. Now, can we all stop pretending it’s otherwise?