Trump on Abortion

Bill Neinast

A conundrum may be defined as a problem, difficult question, quandary, or dilemma.

Several weeks ago, in a typical unscripted, shoot from the hip answer, Donald Trump dumped a conundrum on pro-lifers.  When asked if women should be punished if abortion is prohibited, he answered “Yes!”

The chorus of gasps can still be heard.  The   most ardent proponents of no abortion under any circumstance were mortified.  How could anyone think of punishing a female after an abortion?  The only punishment for such a dastardly act should be for the medical personnel who killed that innocent life.

That is why Trump’s hip shot is such a conundrum for Richard Murdock and his ilk. 

Murdock was the Indiana GOP candidate for the Senate in 2012 who said during a debate that even pregnancies resulting from a rape should not be terminated because “it [the pregnancy] is something that God intended to happen.” 

According to the opinion polls of the time, he was ahead of his Democrat opponent.   His rankings, however, went into a steep slide after that debate and he lost the race.

Put another way, you cannot eat your cake and have it too.  You cannot prohibit something and punish only some of those who violate it.

Criminal act and prohibited act are synonymous.  Stated another way, prohibited acts are crimes.  Criminal laws or lists of prohibited acts are enforced by penalties that range from minor fines to death.

So anyone and everyone who commits a prohibited act should be punished.  That is why prohibiting abortion is such a conundrum for pro-lifers.

An abortion requires the act of at least two individuals, a pregnant female and a doctor. 

So if abortion is prohibited, where is the logic in arguing that a woman who goes to a doctor’s clinic and lays down on a gurney to have an abortion is not guilty of violating the criminal law on abortion, but that the doctor and others who perform the abortion are guilty?

In order to be effective, any legal prohibition of abortion will have to include a range of punishments for participating in an abortion.

So assume that candidate Murdock’s home state of Indiana enacts a strict prohibition of abortion.  The minimum punishment for violating that prohibition is fixed at five years confinement at hard labor.  Will he urge prosecutors to seek the maximum penalty when a 16 year old victim of a brutal gang rape elects to terminate the resulting pregnancy?

So here’s the perspective.

A defense counsel who argued that his client should be absolved of guilt because he was an innocent victim in a botched bank robbery would be laughed out of court.  His client suggested the bank robbery and agreed to drive the getaway car.  He did not go into the bank, but one of the bank tellers was shot and killed by one of his cohorts.

When caught, the instigator claimed. “Hey!, I didn’t do nothing.  I was just there.”

There is no difference between that driver just being there and a pregnant woman presenting herself to a medical team for an abortion.  If abortion is illegal where the procedure takes place, every participant violated the law and should be punished accordingly.

As shocking as Trump’s first statement on this problem was to some, maybe it jump started some serious thinking on the subject.  Hopefully it will prompt some of the more rabid pro-lifers to start thinking about the myriad circumstances that can result in a disastrous, unwanted, unsupportable pregnancy for which an abortion might be the only humane solution.

Could an abortion in those cases also be “God’s will?”  Let’s ask Mr. Murdock.



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