For several decades now, Right to Life of Idaho (RTLI) has been the major pro-life lobby group in the Idaho capitol. As far as we know, they have never attempted a complete ban on abortion that respects abortion as murder. When we at Abolish Abortion Idaho started our initiative effort recently, we hoped that some at RTLI would accede to the moral rightness of our effort, but we knew that in their decades-long paradigm they have long considered mothers who abort their children to be “victims” of a vicious abortion industry, and the pro-life mantra has been that they do not want to punish women for abortions. RTLI has even asserted that the majority of abortions are coerced.
If abortion is wrong, then why is it wrong? Is it wrong because it is murder? Our ballot initiative asserts that it is, and it seeks to establish equal protection under the law for all human beings from conception to natural death. As such, we can’t treat mothers who kill their preborn children any differently than mothers who kill their born children. Also, if a man murders a preborn human without the mother’s permission, he is currently charged based on Idaho Code with murder, so equal justice under law demands that she likewise be charged for a premeditated murder for killing her own preborn child.
This week Right to Life of Idaho unfortunately issued a statement in response to both our initiative effort and in response to another effort by Idaho state senator Dan Foreman to treat abortion as murder. The following is the full text of RTLI’s statement:
“Right to Life of Idaho does not support any legislative action that would subject women to criminal penalties for an abortion.
Based on our experience and the experience of our 19 Idaho Pregnancy Care Centers and hearing the stories of thousands of post-abortive women and couples, we are convinced that abortion is most often a tragically desperate act. Available research indicates that coercion is often a factor in over 64% of the cases when women experience abortion. Despite rhetoric from advocates of abortion on demand, abortion is most often NOT freely chosen by women. Many woman come to deeply regret the loss of their child to abortion.
Subjecting women to criminal penalties for an abortion is inconsistent with the historic pro-life position. We have never supported legislation containing criminal penalties for women. We stand with women and men to offer them realistic alternatives to abortion. We stand with our Pregnancy Care Centers that daily provide compassion and hope to women who consider abortion in a moment of desperation.”
Abolish Abortion Idaho has found the study that RTLI is calling “available research”. It is a study of 217 American women that was released in 2004 by Medical Science Monitor, BUT the data was collected in 1994. So, out of 60 million abortions over 44 years, this data represents 23 year old data from 217 American women in 1994. Also, the data on the Americans in the study was collected from only one urban hospital and two medical outpatient clinics. There is no geographic dispersion.
The study’s purpose was NOT to ascertain coercion. Rather, its purpose was to quantify post abortion stress. As part of the study, they printed Table 4 – Single item frequencies for the abortion circumstance variables and the outcome measures based on nationality. The 64% number comes from this table, and it does not show as “coercion”. Rather, it is listed as “Felt pressured by others”.
The dictionary definition of “coercion” is “use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.” If the actual study says they “felt pressured”, how can that be reinterpreted as “coercion”?
Then there is the fact that in the same table only 17.7% said they “desired pregnancy”. It makes us wonder why with data from 1994, the study was released in 2004, yet Steve Ertelt of LifeNews.com reported on this study on September 8, 2009 and said “A new report issued TODAY focuses on the epidemic of forced abortions in the United States.”
It appears that this one small study that is not about abortion coercion is being used to fit an illogical and inconsistent pro-life agenda that abortion is murder but that mothers who kill their children in abortions are not murderers.
Regardless, we suspect when abortion is punished as 1st degree murder, pressured, coerced or forced abortions will drop off precipitously. It is also very important to note that when abortion is finally treated as murder in Idaho Code, a mother who is actually coerced into an abortion would never be punished anyway under the statutory changes enacted by our initiative. That is because Idaho Code already prohibits the prosecution of those who commit crimes under coercive force. The statute that protects truly coerced women who would be forced to get an illegal abortion is Idaho Code 18-201.
Circulate the Idaho Ballot Initiative to Criminalize Abortion as Murder