Normative but Necessary: A Biblical Case against Punishing Post-Abortive Women

Abstract

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade was a victory for the pro-life movement and primarily pro-life evangelicals. But Roe’s reversal also comes with challenges for pro-life evangelicals. Pro-life evangelicals desire strict abortion laws to protect the unborn. But historically, pro-life evangelicals have rejected the idea of criminal prosecution for women who violate such laws. Progressive voices on the political left argue pro-life evangelicals will now seek criminal punishment for post-abortive women. Pro-abortion advocates contend that evangelicals are logically inconsistent in labeling abortion murder if they do not pursue criminal prosecution for post-abortive women.

Additionally, abortion “abolitionists” within evangelism argue that some form of punishment is appropriate if abortion is murder. Abortion abolitionists contend that Scripture’s lex talionis principle necessarily requires criminal retribution when innocent life is unjustly taken. There is uncertainty regarding the criminal prosecution of post-abortive women within and without evangelicalism. This essay argues that the evangelical conception of retribution establishes normative values that dignify all life, but all things considered, these principles do not necessarily require criminal punishment when laws are broken. Therefore, pro-life evangelicals are logically consistent when they contend for highly restrictive abortion laws while at the same time rejecting the notion of criminal punishment for post-abortive women.

3 thoughts on “Normative but Necessary: A Biblical Case against Punishing Post-Abortive Women”

  1. This was hard to score, but has potential
    The proposal is touching on a topic that needs to be addressed in a post Roe era. The proposal spends a bit too much time defending the topic itself and not enough time explaining in detail the path the paper will take. This made it hard to score, but it has potential.

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