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TRUMP, THE STOCKS AND COTTON MATHER

May 9, 2016

TRUMP, THE STOCKS AND COTTON MATHER

An internet professor, Sheila Kennedy, decided that today, Mother’s Day, would be a peculiarly appropriate day to invite commentary on the yeas and nays of abortion. I responded as follows and (with some slight amendment) decided to make a blog of my own out of this sensitive topic for the general reader, as follows:

When I first read Professor Kennedy’s invitation for commentary today in re abortion, I thought I should pass since as an old WASP male who has never been pregnant though the father of four I had no cattle in this stockade, then I recalled some of Trump’s recent discussions of the topic and decided otherwise.

Trump in response to a question as to what to do with pregnant women who sought and obtained an abortion said that “they should be punished.” He did not specify just what “punishment” should be meted out to such miscreants, whether burning at the stake, a jail term, fired from their public jobs, restrained for a period in the “stocks” in the public square as in pre-colonial times in America, there to be “vilified and spat upon” by an outraged general public, or whatever other punishment Trump could devise for such criminals, including, as he has recommended for terrorists, waterboarding, or some combination of forms of punishment for such “bad women.” Cotton Mather would be proud, as would our contemporary, former vice president Dick Cheney, a known advocate of waterboarding.

Chris Matthews asked Trump if the loving male had any responsibility in connection with the “bad woman’s” attempt to abort, and Trump, after a moment’s thought, answered no (which means that the loving male would not be joining the “bad woman” in the “stocks,” though presumably without his input neither would be sitting in the public square).

I think that Trump’s answer betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the equities involved and amounts to a violation of fairness in interpretation and applicability of law if not a violation of the Equal Protection of the Laws Amendment. The male certainly does bear some responsibility for the situation that brought the pregnant woman to the abortion clinic just as a legal basis exists for her right to demand child support from him if she bears his child. In any event, it is the prospective mother’s choice within Roe whether to come to term and not that of the anti-abortion people who ignore specific circumstances of the abortion-seeking woman (rape, HIV, the baby will live 24 hours etc.) in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach based on religion or other such authority real or assumed. Have that baby so we can ignore his or her needs afterwards, cry the thoughtless hordes!

The anti-abortion people are frequently in favor of no birth control at all, prosecution of abortion providers etc. Taking such views to their dry logical end, then this group should favor prosecution of those who obtain and provide vasectomies and tubal ligations since those too amount to interference with “the natural order of things” and are a form of birth control. We can add vasectomy providers to abortion providers to their nurses and bookkeepers and janitors along with the miscreants themselves and anybody else who has facilitated an abortion to add to “the stocks” for public notice and vilification, unless we run out of room on the public square – or in the jailhouse.

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