Two leading pro-life activists have fired back at National Review's Kevin Williamson after he said on Twitter that hanging would be an appropriate punishment for post-abortive women.
When an abortion supporter Tweeted that “Williamson said that women who have abortions should be hanged,” Williamson said “Yes, I believe that the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.”
The statement drew a handful of condemnatory reactions from publications like Salon and Wonkette.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, the libertarian Williamson said, “I'm queasy about capital punishment in general, though I am not against it in all cases. And I do believe that abortion should be treated under the law like any other premeditated homicide.”
“The question I was asked was, 'Do I really believe that abortion should be treated like murder.' The answer is, 'Yes.'”
However, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson told LifeSiteNews that she is “appalled” by Williamson's Twitter comments.
“As pro-lifers, we must preach mercy, not condemnation. We believe that abortion is the ultimate violence against women and their unborn children. We must not, in turn, respond with violence against those who are misled and living in spiritual blindness.”
“If abortion were to become illegal, I would not support punishment for women who abort,” continued Johnson. “Most women seeking abortions state that they felt forced or coerced into their decision. I would not support a system that punishes those who are already victimized.”
“I would support legal punishment for the physicians that performed illegal abortions. However, it should be said that I am against the death penalty, so I would never support putting someone to death for their crimes.”
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Johnson said that she hopes people know that “we are a movement of peace.”
Likewise, Operation Rescue's Troy Newman said, “it is far outside the mainstream of pro-life thought to suggest that women who have abortions deserve capital punishment. Pro-life activists have compassion for women, who are often pressured into having abortions they don't really want.”
Newman pointed to a South Dakota study that found 65 percent of women who had abortions were “forced or coerced into have an abortion.”
“The pro-life movement considers the woman the secondary victim in abortion,” he said. “The true culprits that deserve to suffer criminal punishments are the abortionists who prey on vulnerable women and profit from their suffering,” said Newman, who also stated that “if abortion was illegal and considered murder, then abortionists should suffer the same punishment as any other murderer.”
“If a state deems that murderers should get the death penalty, then that's what they should get. Unfortunately, right now in our country, abortion is not considered murder, so hanging them or otherwise putting them to death for abortions cannot even be legally considered. However, abortionists seem to commit enough other crimes that long prison sentences are completely acceptable forms of punishment.”