How The Cleveland Kidnapping Trial Could Turn Into A Proxy War Over Abortion

Yesterday, Cuyahoga County, Ohio prosecutor Thomas McGinty announced that he may seek the death penalty against Ariel Castro, the man who allegedly kidnapped, raped and beat three women and held them captive for about a decade. The basis for seeking the death penalty is charges that Castro forced one of his captives to miscarry by starving and punching her. Under Ohio law, “unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy” is considered murder.

As a constitutional matter, there is nothing improper about treating involuntary termination of another’s pregnancy as a very serious crime. The Supreme Court’s decisions recognize “the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State.” This is a right that belongs to the pregnant woman, not to monsters who would violently impose their wishes upon a woman. So even if the alleged miscarriages in this case occurred before “viability,” Castro will find little comfort in the Court’s abortion decisions. Nor should he. It is tough to imagine a more depraved act than intentionally abusing a woman until she miscarries.

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