Friday, October 12, 2018

Hitmen Denounced

I come to praise Jorge Mario Bergoglio, not to bury him. (That will come later.)

In September, 2014, then-National Review columnist  Kevin Williamson tweeted "yes, I believe that the law should treat abortion like any other homicide" and "I have hanging more in mind" for women who undergo the procedure. In April 2018  a podcast from that period came to light, in which Williamson referred to the Twitter exchange by asserting "And someone challenged me on my views on abortion, saying, “If you really thought it was a crime you would support things like life in prison, no parole, for treating it as a homicide.” And I do support that, in fact, as I wrote, what I had in mind was hanging."

Williamson was fired from The Atlantic but he evidently has a very influential ally.  In his weekly address to the assembled throng in St. Peter's Square, on October 10 Pope Francis stated

Today’s catechesis is dedicated to the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. The fifth Commandment is do not kill. We are now in the second part of the Decalogue, which concerns relations with one’s neighbour. And this Commandment, with its concise and categorical formulation, stands as a wall of defense of the basic value in human relations. And what is the basic value in human relations? The value of life.[1]Therefore, do not kill....

A contradictory approach also permits the suppression of human life in the maternal womb in the name of safeguarding other rights. But how can an act that suppresses innocent and defenseless budding human life be therapeutic, civil or simply human? I ask you: it is right to do away with a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? One cannot do this, it is not right to do away with a human being, albeit small, to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem.

Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem?.... It is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem.

By that, the Pope has rendered his judgement: consummating an abortion, the woman who is, or was, pregnant has hired a hitman to do the job.

The implication of this is clear. The woman is- as a hitman typically is in a contract killing- at least as guilty as the individual who actually has performed the act. If abortion is prohibited (an eventuality made more likely by the ascension of Bart O'Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court), the woman would be- in Pope Francis' reasoning- subject to severe punishment.

The obvious solution, of course, is not to put additional restrictions on a woman's reproductive freedom.  It will not be avoided, however, and the upcoming, intensified assault on reproductive freedom will test the courage of conservative legislators, who doubtless recognize that holding a woman responsible for an illegal abortion ("murder") is politically perilous. We'll then be able to determine if they are outraged by the act of abortion or instead by the fear that extending to women freedom in this realm would enable them to exercise greater economic and political power.

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