Yesterday, a story broke out about a man who tricked his girlfriend into taking an abortion pill after finding out she was pregnant and thus causing her to miscarry the ‘unborn child’. He is now facing at least 13 years in prison under ‘the rarely used’ federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act. His now ex-girlfriend is devastated.
After reading the story, I was upset, being a strong pro-life advocate. However, I was also angry. Not angry at the boyfriend. Angry at the subjective nature of the term “child”. To many, this woman’s ‘unborn child’ is nothing but a ‘fetus’ with no rights whatsoever. Therefore, the termination of this ‘fetus’ is the right of the women carrying it, and not against the law. But when she wants the fetus, then it is referred to as a ‘child’ and given unalienable rights. Now, we all now that the boyfriend was obviously wrong in his actions but he isn’t being charged for tricking his ex-girlfriend. He is being charged for killing an unborn child: a murder charge that carries a life sentence.
This really is a double standard. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act explicitly contains a provision excepting abortion, stating that the Act will not “be construed to permit the prosecution” “of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf” (Title 18, Section 1841, c1). So, according to the Act, if the woman consents then the child is not protected under the Law and neither the woman or the doctor performing the abortion can be prosecuted. The Act even defines ‘unborn child’ as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb” (Title 18, Section 1841, d). I find it extremely hypocritical to allow a child to be terminated by his or her mother but no one else. Especially since when that child is born, the mother would be prosecuted immediately if she murdered her own child.
I know full well the sensitivity around the topic of abortion. However, I demand for consistency under the Law. We cannot play games with an issue of this caliber. As women, we must stop this double standard on the definition of life.