Kevin Williamson’s abortion comments were shocking. But at least he’s intellectually honest.

Williamson, if you haven’t heard of him, is a relentlessly, seemingly compulsively provocative conservative writer who was hired away from National Review by the Atlantic

.. a tweet in which Williamson asserted that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide” and that women who have abortions should therefore be subjected to the death penalty, preferably by hanging.

.. On Thursday, after Media Matters for America surfaced a podcast in which Williamson expanded on his hang-the-women approach, Goldberg announced that it was time to part ways. Williamson’s words, he said, run “contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace.”

.. My point, instead, is about the actual content of Williamson’s remarks. They are shocking and brutal, deliberately so, and I understand why, if you are a woman who supports abortion rights, you might not want him sitting at the adjoining cubicle. But what Williamson said is also, from his point of view, intellectually honest, which is more than can be said for many who oppose abortion rights.

.. Politically acceptable is not the Williamson way. Of abortion, he said in a September 2014 podcast, “I think in some ways it’s worse than your typical murder. I mean, it’s absolutely premeditated . . . It’s something that’s performed against the most vulnerable sort of people. And that’s the sort of thing we generally take into account in the sentencing of other murder cases. You know, murdering a 4-year-old kid, is not the same as killing a 21-year-old guy.”

.. As to the punishment, Williamson said, “I’m absolutely willing to see abortion treated like a regular homicide under the criminal code.” Which meant, in Williamson’s typically macho language, treating it as a hanging offense. “I’m kind of squishy about capital punishment in general,” he noted, “but I’ve got a soft spot for hanging as a form of capital punishment. I tend to think that things like lethal injection are a little too antiseptic.”

.. But it is, at least, intellectually honest. In some ways, it is more feminist than the regular antiabortion and Republican party line, which is, as Trump ultimately did, to paint the woman as hapless victim, not mature, responsible actor.

.. If that were their core, unshakable belief, many Republican politicians would not endorse an exception to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest.