Buried among prairie dogs and amateur animation shorts on YouTube is a curious little mini-documentary shot in front of an abortion clinic in Libertyville, Ill. The man behind the camera is asking demonstrators who want abortion criminalized what the penalty should be for a woman who has one nonetheless. You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It's as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations. Here are a range of responses: "I've never really thought about it." "I don't have an answer for that." "I don't know." "Just pray for them."Now Quindlen’s column is focused on abortion (and I urge people to read it), but I found it baffling that the online version of her column didn’t even include a link to the featured clip! In this day and age there’s no excuse for that bit of oversight. (Update: They have added the link.)
You have to hand it to the questioner; he struggles manfully. "Usually when things are illegal there's a penalty attached," he explains patiently. But he can't get a single person to be decisive about the crux of a matter they have been approaching with absolute certainty.
Fortunately Real Women, Real Voices has tracked down the clip. I agree with Quindlen, it’s a pretty fascinating mini-documentary running six and half minutes.