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Abortion and Punishment

Written By: Pastor Matt Trewhella  |  Posted: Friday, July 8th, 2011

            There is a grave situation in the abortion fight regarding the thinking of pro-lifers. I know bringing this up chances that I may be speaking to the wind, as most Christians care little about the injustice committed against the preborn in our country. But here it goes: Most pro-lifers think there should be no punishment for women who have abortions if and when abortion is once again made illegal.

            Recently, someone sent me a link to YouTube wherein pro-lifers were asked two questions. The first question: Do you believe abortion should be illegal? All answered 'yes.' The second question: What punishment should women receive who have illegal abortions? The responses were disappointing and sickening.
            Many said they had "never thought about it before." Most thought they shouldn't be punished at all. Rather they thought we should "pray for them," "treat them with love," and "counsel and help them." Most all made it clear there should be "no jail time for them" and thought they were "punished enough [just] by having an abortion."
            You can watch the whole sorry episode yourself at [Libertyville Abortion Demonstration].
            This thinking of course is nothing new. National Right to Life and their affiliates have long preached that there should be no penalty for women who have abortions.
            Recently, I saw Mike Huckabee, who is running for president, interviewed wherein he was asked if he thought a woman should be punished for having an abortion if it becomes illegal again. His response was that, as a pro-lifer, he likes "to talk about preservation, not punishment. Preservation of the unborn, not punishment of the woman."
            When I went to Portugal this past February in a last ditch attempt to thwart that nation's embracement of abortion, the pro-life leaders actually held a press conference two weeks before the referendum to state that they agreed with the pro-choice side that all laws which punished the woman should be abolished.
            This is a faulty position held by pro-lifers for three reasons: First, it is an affront to God's Law; second, it insults justice; and third, it spits upon the humanity of the preborn child.
            Man is made in God's image and therefore must be protected by civil law. Murder is a violation of God's Law (Ex.20:13). God's Law is clear that murderers should be put to death (Ex.21:12). In fact God's Law makes it clear that if two men are in the commission of a fight and one strikes a woman who is pregnant and the woman or the baby dies, the man is to be executed (Ex. 21:22-25). How much more is the punishment just if the baby is killed deliberately by the woman and the abortionist? Allowing a murderer to go free with no punishment is an affront to God's Law.
            Justice demands punishment. Even the man doing the interviews in the YouTube episode understood that there was something absurd with the idea of calling abortion the capital crime of murder, and then saying there should be no punishment. This moral schizophrenia is an insult to the very nature of justice.
            I remember when I was young hearing a Right to Life leader say that abortionists should only be given a ticket the first time they are caught committing an abortion. That statement, coupled with his follow-up that women receive no punishment at all, left me thinking - so what's the big deal about abortion? If those who are opposed to abortion think the penalty should be a ticket and nothing at all, surely the killing of the preborn cannot be that big of a thing. They were spitting on the humanity of the preborn by suggesting such measly punishments for murder.
            Most Christians chafe at abortionists and women (and men in complicity with them) being charged with murder for two reasons. First, most Christians hate God's Law more than they hate abortion, and second, most have not come to grips with the humanity of the preborn child; they view the child as less than human. This is also why every time someone uses force to protect the preborn, Christians cannot get to their fax machines quick enough to be the first to condemn such actions.
            When we are asked what the punishment should be for women who have illegal abortions, we should unashamedly respond - whatever the penalty is for murder in the state where it takes place. Of course, as Christians, we offer the good news of redemption through Christ to those guilty of abortion, just as we would any other criminal guilty of a capital crime. But that does not negate the justness of punishment administered by the civil magistrate on behalf of society.
            To think otherwise about this matter, is to give credence to the present matriarchal bloodlust in our nation, just as the Romans gave credence to the past patriarchal bloodlust of fathers who could murder their own sons and daughters by leaving them at the infanticide wall to die.

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