Those charged with murder, under the bill, would include a mother who takes abortion-inducing drugs or a doctor who performs an abortion. It also grants no exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
When the day comes that abortion is again illegal in the United States, should mothers who seek or attempt clandestine abortions be charged with murder along with their abortionists?
It should be noted that before abortion was legalized throughout the U.S. in 1973, aborting mothers were not prosecuted. According to Clarke Forsythe at Americans United for Life:
States did not treat women who had the abortion as either principals or accomplices….
As one legal scholar in the 1980s who studied this issue concluded after surveying the 50 states, women “were never charged with murder, only seldom were named co-conspirators, and still more rarely were regarded as accomplices.”…
As the appeals court in the District of Columbia wrote in 1901, “… D.C. Code… applies to the person or persons committing the act which produces the miscarriage, and not to the person upon whom it is committed, notwithstanding it may be done with her knowledge and consent. Not being liable to indictment thereunder, she is not an accomplice in the legal sense.”
Based on the fact that abortion was dangerous and often fatal up to the 19th century, women were seen as victims.
In addition, another main reason for the non-prosecution of women is that relieving women from criminal liability provided states with a better chance of achieving convictions against abortionists – the principal.
[Photo via Daily Kos]