Stump Speech: Crime and Punishment

Stump Speech is a recurring series that examines the language used on the campaign trail – how well it works, and who’s behind it.

Much has been written about Donald Trump’s statement that women should be punished for having abortions, but I found the most disingenuous was the response from the anti-choice movement’s leaders. Their claim that women who have abortions would never be punished should they succeed in outlawing the procedure should be seriously doubted. Why? Because anti-choice activists and politicians already punish women seeking abortions – every day. When a woman is forced to wait weeks to get an appointment because abortion opponents have driven clinics out of service that is punishing them with anxiety and fear. When women are forced to drive hundreds of miles in places like Texas to obtain an abortion or make several trips because of mandated waiting periods, or be forced to watch a sonogram of the fetus after having a doctor probe her with a legally mandated vaginal sonogram, that is punishment. Running the protester gauntlet at on the sidewalk of a clinic listening to harassing comments, or being called a “murderer,” is also a form of abuse and punishment.

So don’t believe what they say. If they succeeded in enacting any form of the Human Life Amendment, which is their goal, the fetus would be declared a person from the moment of conception and would be entitled to full legal protection. Given their overall approach toward women carrying unwanted pregnancies, I think it is safe to assume that Trump’s threat about punishment would win out.