Sorry for the recent silence--this is the week before Spring Break, which means the grading pile had to be thinned out lest it start exerting its influence over the tides.

But I'm back for the moment, and just in time to discover something I should have seen two weeks ago when it was reported, namely that an anti-choice Florida legislator named Charles Van Zant has filed a bill criminalizing most abortions currently allowed under state and federal law, to the degree that doctors who performed such procedures could face first degree felony charges which could carry life sentences.

It has little chance of passing, and even less chance of being upheld if it does, even though Van Zant has said that his goal is to get it before the Supreme Court so they can presumably overturn Roe v Wade.

To Van Zant's credit, he's acting in good faith, up to a point. I mean, if you honestly believe that abortion is murder, then you have to support this kind of legislation, right? It's not just murder, it's capital murder, and in a state with a death penalty, it should be treated as such, and so carry not just life in prison, but a death sentence--if you accept the premise. No exceptions for rape or incest either, though if the life of the mother is at stake, you can argue that an abortion is self-defense.

But here's where he misses, and where most anti-choicers miss: there's no penalty for the mother in his bill, and if you're going to argue that doctors are committing murder when they perform abortions, then you have to say that the person who makes an appointment voluntarily, goes to the doctor, pays the required fee, and submits to the procedure even many times more guilty of the same crime. Don't you? I mean, anti-choicers would love to be able to claim that Planned Parenthood workers are cruising around in abortion vans, kidnapping innocent women off the streets and hoovering out their precious fetuses to use in their Satanic worship circles, but it just isn't happening. Women who get abortions aren't having it done against their wills--in fact, given the obstacles that anti-choice activists have managed to place between women and abortion providers, there's no question that women who are having abortions aren't doing this on a whim.

So I have an idea. Why don't we contact Rep. Van Zant and ask him why he doesn't want to punish the people most responsible for abortions. Let's see if he has an answer. I doubt he will.

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