Kate Sheppard reports that the bidding war among anti-abortion state legislators to see how far they can push the envelop on the ever-shrinking constitutional protections around abortion has reached its logical conclusion—just straight up ignoring the existing constitutional doctrine:
Anti-abortion lawmakers in state legislatures around the country have already drawn national attention—and outrage—for pushing bills that would drastically limit access to abortions. But in Louisiana, one “unapologetically pro-life” lawmaker wants to go even further. State Rep. John LaBruzzo, a Republican from Metairie, has introduced a bill that would ban all abortions in his state—with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother—and charge women who seek abortions and the doctors who perform those abortions with “feticide.”
Louisiana state law calls for jail sentences of up 15 years, with hard labor, for the unlawful killing an unborn child. LaBruzzo told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the inclusion of the line subjecting women to “feticide” prosecution for seeking abortions was a “mis-draft,” and including it “would make [the bill] too difficult to pass.” He promised the provision will be removed from the bill before it goes to a committee vote. But while LaBruzzo doesn’t expect to punish women who seek abortions, he would still like to see doctors working on the chain gang for providing a constitutionally protected medical procedure.
There’s something very ethically and metaphysically weird about the hesitance to legally sanction women who abortions. LaBruzzo and his fellow travelers seem to believe, quite sincerely, that a fetus is a moral person and that killing it is wrong. They’re also hardly unwilling to punish women who find themselves with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies—they’re eager to punish them via laws mandating that pregnancies be carried to term. And obviously it’s not the case that women typically get abortions by accident or because they’re somehow swindled into it by unscrupulous doctors. It’s almost as if he doesn’t take the moral personhood of pregnant women seriously. On the one hand, they have no legal right to control their own bodies, but on the other hand the state has no legal right to hold them personally responsible for their conduct. They’re just seen as the subjects for ideological contestation between medical professionals and the state.