Feminist’s Crazy Claim: Amy Coney Barrett Would Support Executing Women Who Have Abortions

National   Steven Ertelt   Oct 26, 2020   |   3:09PM    Washington, DC

When the left has no rational argument against a Supreme Court nominee like Amy Coney Barrett, it invents the crazies excuses for not supporting her.

A feminist writer at Vogue says Judge Barrett shouldn’t be confirmed to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Why? Because she would support executing women who have abortions.

There’s zero evidence for the crazy claim. Obviously Judge Barrett has never expressed such an opinion ever before or even anything closely resembling it. And never mind the fact that, even when abortion was illegal, women were never prosecuted for abortions (the prosecution was directed to the abortionists who actually killed babies).

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Bess Levin wrote last week that Barrett’s decision to avoid answering hypothetical questions was a “schtick.” Of course, Barrett was doing the exact same thing done by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated by former President Bill Clinton.

The crux of Levin’s baseless claim centered on a written exchange between Barrett, who is Catholic and personally pro-life, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who asked the judge, “Under an originalist theory of interpretation, would there be any constitutional problem with a state making abortion a capital crime, thus subjecting women who get abortions to the death penalty?”

In her response, Barrett told the senator to “see my answer to question 100,” which was, “As a sitting judge and as a judicial nominee, it would not be appropriate for me to offer an opinion on abstract legal issues or hypotheticals.”

To make her case, Levin used (what she sees as) incriminating past opinions by Barrett, who is expected to be confirmed Monday evening.

Barrett wrote in one court opinion that abortion is “always immoral.” She also joined the dissenters in Box v. Planned Parenthood who argued an Indiana law requiring doctors to notify the parents of minors seeking abortions should be upheld. And as several Democrats noted, in 2006, the then-law professor signed a letter calling for an end to the “barbaric” Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that granted nationwide legal cover to abortion.

But none of that yields to the false conclusion that Barrett wants to put women in prison.

In fact, no women were ever prosecuted for obtaining abortions in California prior to Roe v. Wade, and there are only two known prosecutions of women for abortions (in 1911 and 1922) in the whole of the U.S., according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.

In 2016, Forsythe wrote:

This political claim is not an abstract question that is left to speculation—there is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. To state the policy in legal terms, the states prosecuted the principal (the abortionist) and did not prosecute someone who might be considered an accomplice (the woman) in order to more effectively enforce the law against the principal. And that will most certainly be the state policy if the abortion issue is returned to the states.

He noted that California and 19 other states had statutes that technically made it a crime for a woman to participate in her own abortion; however, these were not enforced, and even historians who support Roe v. Wade admit this to be true.

“There is no record of any prosecution of a woman as an accomplice even in these states,” Forsythe wrote.

He referred to a 1901 appeals court decision in the District of Columbia that said, ““[b]y its terms, [D.C. Code Ann. § 809 (1901)] applies to the person or persons committing the act which produces the miscarriage, and not to the person upon whom it is committed, notwithstanding it may be done with her knowledge and consent. Not being liable to indictment thereunder, she is not an accomplice in the legal sense.”

Abortion advocates often bring up the possibility of women being punished if abortion becomes illegal again, but past and current laws both show that most pro-lifers do not support punishments for women.  Current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.

While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement has historically opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions.