A confusing afternoon for pro-life news junkies. If I might point out a few things…
A “ban” on abortion?
Everyone finds him- or herself bound by the fundamental moral law, “do good; avoid evil.”
Doctors and other healthcare workers can and do get confused about how this law applies sometimes. Like when a pregnant woman asks for an abortion. But honest moral reflection leads you to recognize that abortion is certainly an evil prohibited by the fundamental moral law, since it involves killing an innocent person.
The first punishment for breaking the moral law is the pangs of conscience. No punishment devised by man could ever really be worse. We can only escape the punishment of a troubled conscience by 1. repenting and seeking truth and reconciliation, or 2. engaging in acts of self-destruction which serve to deaden conscience.
Civil law cannot really “permit” killing an innocent person, since man does not have the power to render the light of conscience null and void. So, even now, abortion is only “legal” in a limited sense–just like slavery was once “legal,” but never truly so, because no one’s conscience could fully make peace with it.
Criminal punishment for abortion?
Every pregnant woman, just like every human soul, must grapple with her conscience. Some pregnant woman have, by act or omission, precipitated a miscarriage. Conscience will punish such an act or omission, according to the truth of the situation. But of course no civil law could ever touch this realm, since it is altogether private.
“Abortion,” meaning a surgical procedure, however, involves a third party–someone with some kind of technique and expertise.
Again, because it involves killing an innocent person, there actually isn’t any way to make performing an abortion altogether ‘legal.’ It is prohibited by the inner law that governs the conscience of anyone who possesses the technique and expertise to do it.
That performing abortions is ‘legal’ in the Roe v. Wade regime means: the law of the land contributes to the confusion and distortion of many consciences, especially the consciences of healthcare workers who perform or participate in abortions.
I think it’s fair to say that any true pro-lifer would advocate something like this:
1. A period of five or ten years of some kind of public penance, where government officials help to purify the nation of the lies about abortion by regular ceremonies acknowledging how the Roe v. Wade regime has been a horrible mistake. We as a nation have the blood of many innocents on our hands. (May the Lord have mercy on us!)
2. Simultaneously, we work to re-organize the healthcare system, to remove abortion and artificial contraception.
3. Then, after this five or ten year period, once the air has been cleared about what abortion is, allowing everyone to reach a state of tranquil conscience on this matter, then we could re-open the political debate about appropriate criminal penalties for abortionists. (Which would not involve re-inventing the wheel, since these debates occurred all over the country prior to Roe v. Wade.)