Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 27, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2021

Rob Lovering
Pages 56-81

All Human Beings Are Equal, But Some Human Beings Are More Equal Than Others
A Case Study On Punishing Abortion-Performing Doctors But Not Abortion-Procuring Women

In this paper, I present a case study on a recent attempt at implementing what I refer to as the “Pro-lifer’s Asymmetrical Punishment View” (PAPV), the view that people should be legally punished for performing abortions whereas women should not be so punished for procuring abortions. While doing so, I argue that the endeavor, which took place in the state of Alabama, is incoherent relative to the conjunction of its purported underlying moral rationale and the Alabama criminal code. I then present what I take to be possible explanations for, practical implications of, and solutions to the attempt and its incoherence. Given that other endeavors to implement PAPV are currently in the works and are so with similar underlying moral rationales and within similar criminal codes, what I present and argue here is not limited to Alabama’s attempt at doing so.