Matt C. Abbott
Should abortion be treated as suicide...or murder?
By Matt C. Abbott
January 31, 2015

(A version of the following column originally appeared at the American Thinker blog.)

An interesting project has been undertaken by the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League:
    Today [Jan. 22] – the forty-second anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision – the Pro-Life Action League sent an special care package to every abortion clinic in the United States.

    Inside: a picture of Naresh Patel, the Oklahoma abortionist arrested last month, along with a pair of plastic handcuffs and a signed note from me reading, 'Could you be next? If you want to get out of the abortion business, give me a call.' I also included my cell phone number.

    This project was inspired by the arrest of abortionist Naresh Patel last month at his abortion clinic for telling women that they were pregnant when they weren't so he could sell them abortion drugs. Patel has been charged with fraud and racketeering, and his Oklahoma clinic remains closed.
Over the years, there have indeed been several abortionists who decided to leave their murderous "profession" thanks in part to the efforts of dedicated pro-life activists.

League spokesman Tom Ciesielka says that "former abortionists Dr. Anthony Levatino (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Dr. Beverly McMillan (Jackson, Mississippi), Dr. McArthur Hill (Wheat Ridge, Colorado), and Dr. John Bruchalski (Fairfax, Virginia), are among those who have spoken out with the Pro-Life Action League about their change of heart."

Which brings me to something that most pro-lifers ostensibly don't like discussing: whether at least some abortion-procuring women should be put in jail if and when abortion is criminalized.

Is each and every abortion-procuring woman a victim? Some pro-lifers say yes. I say no.

That doesn't mean I believe all abortion-procuring women are perpetrators. I do think a number of these women are threatened and coerced by boyfriends, husbands, family members and predatory men, thus greatly diminishing or even eliminating their culpability. But the (many) women who freely choose abortion – just like mothers who murder their toddlers – deserve jail time, no?

Maybe, but maybe not. I'm a bit torn. The reason?

There was an argument made recently (in response to a pro-abortion writer's questions addressed to pro-lifers) by Jason Scott Jones and John Zmirak that gave me pause:
    If zygotes are people, abortion is infanticide, a very serious crime....Why should women who hire a fetal hit man get a pass?

    For the same reasons that a doctor who attempted to assist with suicide ought to be imprisoned – instead of his unfortunate patient. Destroying one's child is so self-destructive and unnatural that it ought to be treated more like a suicide than a murder attempt. Attempts to portray abortion as a minor surgical procedure or a lifestyle accessory have foundered on the agony of women who know the truth, from bitter experience. We wish to protect women and their children from the ultimate medical malpractice.

On one hand, I agree. On the other hand ... I dunno.

Consider this, from USA Today (Jan. 28):
    Angela Alexie, 24, was ordered held on $1 million bond on charges of open murder and first-degree child abuse.... Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said Tuesday that the young mother of three children delivered her son by herself in a garage at a friend's home in Eastpointe.... He said the woman left the child in the garage for two days [before dying]....
That's what you'd call a "fourth-trimester abortion." Would we say that such a heinous act is somehow not murder? Hardly. Yet if she had gone to an abortion clinic during her pregnancy, she could have had her baby legally killed by an abortionist – and, in certain states, right up to the moment of birth!

A travesty.

If the authorities are going to put Alexie in prison for doing what she did – and they should – why not a woman who freely chooses to abort her child?

We pro-lifers have to be consistent in our position that abortion is indeed an act of killing that needs to be criminalized. And with that crime should come punishment (prison) for those involved. Again, yes, there are cases in which a woman is forced to procure an abortion; that needs to be taken into account.

Jailing abortionists for what they do is a no-brainer (we pray for their conversion, of course). It's murkier when it comes to abortion-procuring women, though.

At any rate ... I've whistled Dixie long enough on this subject.

Let's keep fighting the good fight while doing our best to change minds and hearts, God willing.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, WOSU Radio in Ohio, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours in my column, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in very rare circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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