Christopher Dreisbach is right that if abortion at any stage is murder, then it's difficult to oppose Rep. Todd Akin's claim that an aborted fetus resulting from rape is an innocent victim ("Abortion ethics not so simple," Aug. 28).
But it is equally difficult for Mr. Akin and others who claim to believe that abortion is murder to explain why abortionists, and their accomplices and co-conspirators, should not be subject to the penalties we apply in the case of other premeditated murders.
In about two-thirds of the states I believe that penalty would be death for the doctor performing the abortion, for anyone knowingly paying for it, and in many cases for the woman undergoing the abortion whether she paid for it or not. Others involved, for example, assisting nurses and anyone knowingly driving the woman to the clinic, would be subject to life imprisonment. In the other states, all would be subject to life imprisonment, in most cases without the possibility of parole. Not all prosecutors would seek the maximum penalty in every case, but those penalties would be available.
In my experience, few or none of the people who claim to believe that abortion is murder are willing to have anyone involved subject to these penalties. They seem to think that if abortion is criminalized, there will be no abortions, so no penalty will ever need to imposed. This is, of course, a fantasy.
Their reluctance to impose penalties for murder on people involved in abortion leads me to doubt their sincerity when they claim to believe that abortion is murder.
Vincent Daly, Baltimore