It’s a question Chris Matthews always hits pro-lifers with, attempting to take their position to its logical conclusion: so who would you prosecute? Would you punish the woman, the doctor? I’ve seen Mr. Matthews do this for years. Dozens of times. Today, he finally made headlines with it, because the questioning was directed to the candidate who hasn’t learned the tortured logic and rhetorical tricks of the trade to avoid the clear, direct and honest answer.
Trump makes an ‘honest’ mistake – a mistake of honesty. Because really, if you are pro-life, the only coherent position to take is that yes, a woman should be punished: if you believe the fetus is a life, with a right to life, and that abortion is murder, then you have to punish the woman if she is complicit in the act or she is requesting and contracting a doctor to perform an abortion.
An analogy: If a man hired a contract killer to murder his wife, would you only punish the contract killer? Of course not. Then why, in the case of the ‘murder’ of a child, would you only punish the doctor hired to do the job, who is merely acting at the will of the mother – is in fact, being contracted and paid by the mother?
If there were pro-life laws that recognized the right-to-life of the fetus, and the law required the punishment of the doctor but total amnesty for the mother – it is doubtful such a law would survive a legal test, since it is by nature arbitrary or discriminatory in its enforcement.
Pro-lifers are angry at Trump because he laid bare the incoherency of their official position: abortion is murder, but we would never punish the mother.
Pro-lifers explain they have never been in favor of punishing the woman, because they consider the woman a ‘victim’ in the situation. How patronizing! This seems far more misogynistic than the alternative. They rob women of all autonomy and agency, casting them as helpless, unwitting pawns controlled by the ‘culture of abortion’ – as if they are incapable of making their own choices and decisions. Even juveniles are punished for murder. Somehow women are below even children? They are now in the category of the mentally ill or intellectually disabled, unaccountable for their actions?
Trump quickly reversed himself, perhaps for the first time diluting his brand as the no-B.S. non-P.C. straight-talker who tells it like it is.
I think Trump should have stuck to his guns, and called out Cruz — and any other pro-lifers who criticized him — for being total pro-life phonies.