The question arose in the presidential campaign whether women should be punished for abortions. The answer below from colleagues on Capitol Hill should set the record straight:
Many pro-life leaders view women as co-victims of abortion (e.g. The March for Life). Pro-life groups and Members have supported legislation that holds abortionists who prey on women accountable for their actions while holding the women on whom the abortion is performed harmless under the law. Some examples of such legislation are included below.
Recently Considered Pro-life Laws, Not Enacted
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
HR36 (114th Congress) as introduced and as passed the House (also 113th H.R. 1797 as introduced and as passed the House, H.R. 3803 as introduced and as considered by the House on Suspension):
BAR TO PROSECUTION.—A woman upon whom an abortion in violation of subsection (a) is performed or attempted may not be prosecuted under, or for a conspiracy to violate, subsection (a), or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on such a violation.
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
Bar to prosecution.—The mother of a child born alive described under subsection (a) may not be prosecuted under this section, for conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 3 or 4 of this title based on such a violation.
PRENDA (Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act)
H.R. 3541 as introduced in the 112th and as considered by the House under suspension of the Rules in the 112th Congress
Exception.—A woman upon whom a sex-selection or race-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation of this section, or for a conspiracy to violate this section.
Enacted Pro-life Laws
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
As enacted in 2003:
A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on a violation of this section.
Unborn Victims of Violence Act
As enacted in 2004
Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution—…
‘(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.
Personhood bill not enacted or recently considered by the House but viewed by some as a position statement on the legality of abortion:
H.R. 816 as introduced in the 114th Congress; H.R. 1091 as introduced in the 113th Congress; H.R. 374 as introduced in the 112th Congress.
However, nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.