Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Illegal abortion, not homicide

I have to agree with Brad Zambrell, who wrote Do-It-Yourself Abortion, in that charging Gerardo Flores with murder makes no legal sense. Flores was charged with two counts of murder for helping his teenage girlfriend kill her fetuses by beating and stomping on her abdomen. But I disagree with Zambrell about why.

Zembrell holds that 16-year-old Erica Basori had every right to demand that her fetuses be put to death, and that legally she had every right to ask anybody she wanted to help her achieve that end. Zelbrell wants to loosen abortion laws to allow anybody to perform them, as long as the mother asks for the fetus to be killed.

I disagree that anybody has any right to demand that somebody be put to death. But if abortion is legal, the most you can charge anybody with, should they illegally assist in killing a fetus the mother wants dead, is practicing medicine without a license. Zembrell is right that we can't give cart-blanc to physicians to slay fetuses, then charge a layman with murder for doing it.

The law, as it is written, should be used to protect women who want their babies to live. Anybody who causes a fetus to die without the mother's express consent should indeed be prosecuted for murder of that fetus, and I think that should include any physician who proceeds without a clear instruction from the mother that she has considered her fetus and wants it dead. Not that she wants to not be pregnant any more, but that she specifically wants that particular fetus to die.

I think that by clearly re-defining legal abortion as the destruction of a fetus whose mother actively wants that fetus dead, we'll go a long way to reduce abortions. Anybody performing an abortion would need to be able to demonstrate that he was acting at the express wish of the mother, that she knew what was being killed -- a living fetus that had passed whatever developmental milestones her fetus had passed -- and that she absolutely and without reservation wanted that fetus put to death on her behalf.

In fact, I think that the mother ought to be required to sign a death warrant, similar to the warrants signed to authorize a legal execution.

If this country wants abortion to be a legal right, we need to be honest about what it is we're giving women a right to do -- to have an innocent human being put to death. We need to stop pretending that it has anything to do with provision of "medical care."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most lucid argument I have heard thus far on this issue.