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Chris Matthews: If you believe abortion’s murder, “you go after the person” who had the abortion

Chris Matthews: If you believe abortion’s murder, “you go after the person” who had the abortion

Matthews: refusing to punish woman who has an abortion is ‘treating her like a child’

Chris Matthews gave generally respectful treatment to pro-life activist Abby Johnson, who appeared on last night’s Hardball in the context of discussing the March for Life. But Matthews challenged Johnson on the position—generally adopted by the pro-life movement—that the only person who should be punished is the doctor performing the abortion, and not the woman who chose to have one.

Said Matthews: “If abortion’s a murder and the person who goes to an abortion clinic is given no sanctions, no punishment whatever, there’s something that doesn’t square there . . . if you believe it’s murder, you go after the person who went to the clinic to have the abortion. Or else you treat her like a child, a vulnerable person who’s not really a grownup . . . Going after the doctor is a cute way of avoiding the question. If it’s murder, act on it. If it’s not, stop saying it.”

Johnson, who worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic but resigned after watching an abortion on ultrasound and became a pro-life activist, indicated that she prefers to call abortion the killing of a human life rather than murder, but in any case opposes punishment for the woman.

Earlier in the segment, Matthews rolled a clip of his interview of Donald Trump from last year in which the then-candidate said there had to be “some form of punishment” for women who have an abortion. Trump subsequently changed his position, calling the women victims, and saying only the doctor should be punished.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Since campaigning for president, Donald Trump has taken a much harder stance on abortion. It’s changed a bit. But here’s what he told me in March, of last year.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion: yes or no, as a principle?

DONALD TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yeah: there has to be some form.

. . .

MATTHEWS: Here’s my problem with your position. And I respect your values completely. If abortion’s a murder and the person who goes to an abortion clinic is given no sanction, no punishment whatever, there’s something that doesn’t square there. Either you believe it’s murder or you don’t. And if you believe it’s murder you go after the person who went to the clinic to have the abortion. Or else you treat her like a child, a vulnerable person who’s not really a grownup, and you get it both ways. Women have maturity, they’ve got the right to make a judgment, and when they make a judgment, they find doctor to give them the procedure. Going after doctor is a cute way of avoiding the question. If it’s murder, act on it. If it’s not, stop saying it. Stop saying: it’s murder if you’re not going to act on it as if it is murder. That’s my problem with it. It’s called a conflict of truth.

ABBY JOHNSON: I actually don’t say it’s murder. I say that it’s killing

MATTHEWS: A lot of your crowd do. Killing. Okay, killing. Killing people, you’re saying.

JOHNSON: Killing a human being.

MATTHEWS: And if it’s killing, what is it? Should it be outlawed?

JOHNSON: It depends.

MATTHEWS: Should the person be punished for doing it?

JOHNSON: It depends. Murder is technically a legal term.

MATTHEWS: Should the person who has an abortion be punished? I ask the same question —

JOHNSON: I do not. I do not believe they should be punished.

MATTHEWS: But it is murder.

JOHNSON: If it’s legally considered murder then it would be murder.

MATTHEWS: But it shouldn’t be punished?

JOHNSON: It depends on the situation.

MATTHEWS: You just said it should be, it shouldn’t be.

JOHNSON: I think that a woman should be not be punished.

MATTHEWS: Even though it’s murder?

JOHNSON: Correct.

MATTHEWS: Strange point of view here. I don’t understand the metaphysics. I just don’t understand. Anyway, Abby Johnson, you have the total right to hold that position even though it’s in total conflict.


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He’s right, he can’t understand it. It takes actual compassion for human life to hold this contradictory view, something leftists lack.

    Tom Servo in reply to Zachary. | January 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    What Matthews misses (deliberately) is that you don’t go after another victim of the crime, the mother – you go after the Gosnell who actually committed the murder, and then profited by selling the proceeds of his crimes.

Well, props to him for trying to understand the other side for once. The answer is staring him in the mirror though. Women are treated like childish victims because the Left insists on doing so in the debate.

buckeyeminuteman | January 28, 2017 at 8:39 am

That’s the eventual goal. Although, 374,000 extra murder cases per year is going to really clog up the legal system.

Matthews was trying to get his guests to adopt his straw man, and they wisely declined.

Abortion is NOT “murder”. It certainly is a homicide. Roe classified a whole population of humans as being “extra-constitutional” beings who had no rights. Actually MORE than one population when you consider fathers and grandparents.

    Excised “our Posterity”, rejected evolution of human life, and denied life unworthy. Elective abortion is premeditated murder, made lawful through a legal precedent pulled from the twilight zone.

    That said, the strawman is how we should respond. The last time America confronted the Pro-Choice Church, we lost several hundred thousand people. With the progress of Pro-Choice religious/moral philosophy, the potential for catastrophic anthropogenic climate change requires another approach to resolve political, scientific, social, and religious corruption in order to reestablish law and order, and secure human rights.

casualobserver | January 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

Call me a cynic. But I question if Matthews’ motive is purely to get the argument logically right. If the left had mastered anything, it’s creating victims. And often they go further by making classes of victims overly sympathetic. Having pro-life advocates attacking the mothers gives abortion rights advocates much more emotional ammunition. And Matthews has frequently played similar games to support progressive ideology.

Using generally accepted principles of criminal law, abortion is not murder. Murder is the unjustified killing of another human being. One would have to establish, by law, that a fetus is a human being (or a “person”) in order for its deliberate killing to constitute murder. That, of course, could be done by constitutional amendment that would extend the 5th and 14th Amendments to fetuses or indeed a fertilized human egg. (This leaves aside the notion that a fetus that is capable of living outside the womb (like a preemie)–is in fact a human being, deserving of protection.) Abortion is clearly the intentional killing of a form of life–an incipient life–but not necessarily a human being. But its killing can’t be considered a justifiable one using recognized concepts of either self-defense or defense of a third party. In a sense, it is an understandable killing but not a justifiable one. My legal career has consisted mostly of criminal defense, which has included many instances of defending persons against charges of murder. Although this is not logically sound, experience tells me that actual murderers are different from women who abort their fetuses. Those women do not resemble in any way, especially in intent, people who murder. That tells me that, although the killing of a fetus is the taking of a form of life, it is not murder.

    Mac45 in reply to nisquire. | January 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Actually there are several states which have successfully prosecuted people for homicide for the abortion of a fetus during a non-deadly attack against the mother. Some of these cases have involved fetuses within the first trimester. And, many have involved fetus which could be lawfully aborted by the mother, at the time of the attack.

    Mothers murder children all the time. Being the child’s parent does not save them from prosecution, unless, as you note, the killing is due to an established, reasonable reason, such as self defense.

Nothing really complicated here. Virtually every society establishes rules for the acceptable killing of specific classes of human beings. For instance, it’s almost always okay to kill enemy soldiers and certain civilians, and usually there are crimes that call for the death penalty. Some cultures approve of the killing of newborn baby girls (but not boys); others put a time limit on abortion, usually around 20-22 weeks from conception. These rules reflect social and cultural attitudes, and they inevitably evolve over time. And the local laws *tend* to evolve along with social attitudes.

Of course, like most societies we also set rules about the punishment for unsanctioned killing. Accidental death gets minor punishment; a serial killer is likely to get life in prison. There’s certainly no social consensus for punishing a woman who kills her unborn child, but–as our new president suggests–there are probably scenarios where the mother deserves at least a good rap on the knuckles.

    Mac45 in reply to jtarter. | January 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Thinl about this for a moment. Is it acceptable to kill an innocent simply because that person is an inconvenience? If so, then there can be no crime of child neglect in our society. In fact, by that logic, there should be no crime if a child was killed, post delivery, by its mother.

    The lawful killing of a criminal of enemy soldier involves an idea of self defense or defense of the nation or society. It is based upon acts or intentions of the person being killed. However, in the case of a fetus, the potential life of that person is being ended without any reason other than convenience. The fetus has committed no hostile act or crime. It has expressed no intent to commit a hostile act or crime.

    The big pro-abortion justification is always that the fetus can not live independently of the mother, so it is not a person and deserving of the protection of the law. However, a one month old baby can not live independently either. Neither can some elderly people or those with mental and physical impairments. But, we do not allow them to be killed for the sake of convenience.

    This country is exhibiting delusional reasoning in order to allow a practice which they know to be logically wrong and unsupportable. Why? Why is it necessary to essential kill children?

      MikeE in reply to Mac45. | January 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      “But, we do not allow them to be killed for the sake of convenience.” Peter Singer notwithstanding.

      n.n in reply to Mac45. | January 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Abortion rites are argued on the basis of “=” or congruence, but there are clearly other special and peculiar interests that stand to benefit from gerrymandering our population (e.g. immigration reform), Planned Parenthood (e.g. clinical cannibalism), increasing redistributive change, fomenting discontent, etc.

“Pro-life” advocates who hold that a mother should not be held accountable for killing her fetus make themselves sound stupid and hurt their cause.

The whole premise of the anti-abortion movement is that life begins at conception, not at birth or at some other point in the gestation period. So, if a woman voluntarily aborts a fetus that she is carrying, this would be criminal homicide. And, as with any other criminal act various things would be taken into account with regard to guilt and the severity of the sentence.

Chris Mathews is correct here. But, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Tom Servo in reply to Mac45. | January 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Actually pro-lifers believe that the mother is another victim of the crime. The murderer is the Gosnell who laughingly did the actual killing and then sold the body parts for a profit.

      There can be more than one person held accountable for a homicide. In the case of an abortion, this would include the doctor, all of his or her assistants, anyone at the abortion facility and its parent company who had knowledge that such practices were occurring and the mother and any friends or relatives who knew that she was aborting the fetus. The only way to legally abort a fetus would be pursuant to a lawful court order issued after a court hearing in which the due process rights of the unborn human being had been protected by representation.

    tarheelkate in reply to Mac45. | January 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Of course the complicating factor is that large numbers of women who go to abortionists do it under pressure from boyfriends who don’t want the expense and responsibility of a child, and women are also told by the “mainstream” liberals that it isn’t a child.

      nisquire in reply to tarheelkate. | January 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      That is a very important, and often neglected or forgotten, point. I used to say that I was against abortion except to protect the life of the father–a sardonic way of expressing the same point.

      I wonder how that excuse would fly if the woman was robbing a liquor store.

      People are responsible for their own actions, unless adjudged to be mentally incompetent. So, does this mean that a woman who gets an abortion is mentally incompetent?

4th armored div | January 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm

in our society the value of children by the non ethical, non religious is seen as a hindrance.

the reproduction rate of non religious is less than replacement levels. Europe suffers from this and imports non western (mostly east European/formerly communist) and more and more Muslims.

within 2 generations Europe will be the caliphate.
maintaining NATO will be a greater challenge to align with our ideological enemies.

In the USA we still have people who are not as ethically challenged. Unfortunately it is the ethically challenged who have the power and free time to have taken over the media and education systems, where they have great influence.

The replacement rate in the USA is supplemented by the ‘southern invaders’ who generally are RC or Protestant. If we can teach them what it is to be a good ethical citizen then we will survive and thrive.

sorry about this rambling post.

Bottom line if women understood that when they abort, they will mostly regret it the rest of their lives.

    tarheelkate in reply to Ragspierre. | January 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    A very good article, highlighting the lies and questionable reasoning used in crafting the decision. Also it points out that if Roe were reversed, the matter would be returned to states for legislative action, which is where it should be.

Actually, there should be some form of legal consequences for the mother. The question is how severe.

Selective-child is not one-child. Whereas the latter reflected a minority psychopathy, the former reflects a majority. Whereas the latter was normalized by the Communist Party, the former was normalized by the State-established Pro-Choice Church (e.g. Democratic Party). Separation of Pro-Choice Church and State is the first step. Restoring the integrity of science is the second step. The first two steps are correcting institutional and political corruption. Reversing normalization (e.g. cultural corruption) of abortion rites is the third step. We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We do want to avoid catastrophic anthropogenic climate change that would be caused by forcefully removing people’s heads from the twilight zone.

That just isn’t the political reality. In a recent Gallup poll, where people were asked whether abortion should be legal in all circumstances, illegal in all circumstances, or legal under certain circumstances, the numbers were 29%, 19%, and 50%. So to read that another way, there’s both a broad consensus that abortion should be restricted, and a broad consensus that it should still be available under certain circumstances.

Treating a woman like a child is believing three months isn’t enough time for her to make a decision.

    n.n in reply to Jingo. | January 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Perhaps we need education reform. Someone is teaching the fantasy of spontaneous conception, and promoting the prejudice of [class] diversity and life unworthy.

I think that abortion will always be treated somewhat differently than murder in out society in much the same way that attempted suicide is not treated as attempted murder. If one takes into consideration the concept of inclusive fitness in the manner of Hamilton (the biologist), then abortion can be looked upon as containing an element of suicide in the sense of acting against biologically continuing the family line. This is not the case for the agent who performs the abortion, who like Jack Kevorkian, is culpable for facilitating acts of suicide.

    Mac45 in reply to alcuin. | January 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Attempted suicide is accepted as prima facia evidence of mental incapacitation as it is assumed that no sane person would attempt to kill themselves. However, this does not absolve a person from his actions, in this regard. Usually, a person is adjudged mentally ill faces commitment for an unspecified period of time, for attempting to kill themselves. So, let’s adjudicate mothers who abort their unborn children as being mentally ill and commit them to a secure psychiatric facility until cured.

… in our society…

First go after the actual murderers. Once that’s achieved we can consider what to do about those who solicit such murders; but if the murderers are liable to be punished they’ll turn down such commissions, and thus the issue won’t come up. Going after the solicitors first makes no sense at all.