Slate was a particular offender. There Osita Nwanevu described Kevin as “a man who once argued that a quarter of American women should be executed.” That was literally the entirety of the description he gave his readers. (If they were not already familiar with the controversy, what could they have thought he meant?) More recently Ruth Graham described Kevin’s rhetoric as a “breezy case for hanging nearly one-quarter of American women.” The Twitter user Popehat referred to “his crazy-ass mass-execution ideas.” Often these descriptions of his argument were accompanied with a completely disingenuous comment that at least Williamson was being logical.
Normally, I’m pretty good at figuring out how people misled themselves, but I confess, I’m stumped on this one. They are obviously smuggling in the premise that nearly one quarter of U.S. women have had abortions. But I can’t tell if they believe that Williamson wants to impose this penalty retroactively or if they believe Williamson thinks his preferred laws criminalizing abortion would have zero effect on the abortion rate, and simply add tens of millions of adult women onto the already high body count of abortion.
I think a ten-year-old kid should be able to deduce that a society capable of criminalizing abortion would be one in which a quarter of women probably wouldn’t want or seek one.