Al Mohler describes (below) what he calls the “mainstream pro-life” view on questions related to the criminalization of abortion.
…While folks on both sides on the cultural divide are trying to make a great deal of this. We have to understand there really is a big story here. I said earlier that Kevin Williamson could not work for a mainstream pro-life organization in this country. Why did is say that? It is because he holds to a view that those organizations have long repudiated. The mainstream pro-life movement in this country represented by the most visible organizations and names has long argued for the criminalization of abortion but for criminal penalties not against the woman who might seek an abortion but against the medical practitioners and others who would profit by it.
The mainstream pro-life position in this country developed over many decades is that abortion is murder but that the murderer who want to be charged with homicide is either the one who profiteers of the one who practices the medical action that brings about the abortion. In any event, it is the murderer, not the woman seeking the abortion, who the mainstream pro-life movement has identified as the most significant moral agent. This is not to argue that women who have sought or who have obtained abortions are not morally responsible.
It is to say that’s a different kind of responsibility than the one who actually brings about the murder. There has also been a two-fold pragmatic argument behind this. The first pragmatic aspect is the fact that if one wants to preserve life, one must deal responsibly and redemptively with a woman who might be under the pressure to consider an abortion. Threatening her with criminal action at a moment of vulnerability is pragmatically speaking, not the way to limit abortion or to convince a woman not to have an abortion. The second pragmatic consideration is this. The American people, even when abortion was criminalized, did not support criminal charges being brought against the woman who sought the abortion…