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Amnesty International say post-abortive women are not criminals, and we agree! CBR strongly believes that a post-abortive woman is abortion’s second victim, and that abortion already punishes women with tragic severity without ever prosecuting them. We understand experientially that every woman who aborts knows that what she is doing is wrong -- but few understand how wrong. The humanity of the child is systematically hidden from her by society. The inhumanity of abortion is methodically hidden from her by society. Women are lied to about prenatal development and abortion by their teachers, the press, and the entire medical establishment.  The pro-life movement and even the church have unwittingly conspired with the abortion industry to hide the horror of abortion. We allow them to be lied to and then punish them for believing the lie? Where is the love in that betrayal? 

Countless pregnant women have told us they have changed their minds about “pregnancy termination” when shown the inexpressible evil of abortion. Countless post-abortive women have told us they would have never aborted had someone shown them that truth before instead of after they aborted. The Centers For Disease Control report that nearly half of all abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more previous abortions.  Post-abortive women are, therefore, among those most at risk of aborting, and are, consequently, among those in greatest need of seeing our deeply disturbing abortion photos.

These women are not without fault, but for many, it is moral fault, not criminal fault. They have some sense that what they are doing is wrong but so much information is being withheld from them that their understanding of the full nature of their act seldom rises to the level required to fairly impute criminal liability. The appropriate remedy in most cases is spiritual, not penal. These women are often panic-stricken. Many are being coerced by threats of abandonment from boyfriends, fathers, husbands, etc., who say “this pregnancy will ruin your life,” when what they really mean is “this pregnancy will ruin MY life!”  

It is, thankfully, unlikely that the public (even the pro-life public) would ever support the imposition of criminal penalties regarding post-abortive women -- and the mere attempt to enact such legislation would rightly discredit our movement. The enactment of such an insensitive penalty would be little more than a pyrrhic victory for the most vindictive among us. Police would seldom be willing to arrest post-abortive women; prosecutors wouldn’t charge them; juries wouldn’t convict them; and judges wouldn’t punish them. 

Society has already entered into a period of shocking lawlessness with authorities refusing to enforce enormous numbers of laws. Even during periods in history when abortion was against the law, and there was a strong societal consensus that it should be punished, it was the clinician, not the mother, who was usually jailed. 

All that would result from the futile prosecutions of post-abortive women would be a black eye for pro-lifers whose lack of compassion would confirm the accusations that we are misogynous bullies who hypocritically claim to care about the suffering of post-abortive women and then brutalize them almost as savagely as the abortion industry.

ICBR condemns ALL abortion related violence and refuses to work with or be associated with anyone who fails to condemn such violence.

Copyright © 2017 ICBR (Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform). All Rights Reserved.