This year, rather than fix the economy or create jobs, American lawmakers have opted to focus their attention instead on working their evangelical butts off to make sure that there are as many obstacles between a woman and reproductive control as possible, using esoteric imaginary justification to introduce legislation that would be disastrous if enacted. The impact of restrictive abortion laws is not a mystery; dozens of countries around the world already severely restrict women's access to reproductive health services, and, to put it lightly, life for women in those countries is hardly a picnic. In fact, from what we can glean, an America without legal abortions would be pretty terrible for everyone.
So, what lessons can we learn from... reality? What would really happen if fetuses join the ranks of corporations and are legally considered people? The same thing that's already happening in other countries.
Women will die from unsafe abortions.
Pro life, my ass. When abortion is outlawed, women die as a result. In Latin America, where abortion is roundly restricted and in some countries banned outright, more women die from having unsafe abortions than in any other region in the world. A 2009 Guttmacher report estimates that 70,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions, and millions of women are seriously harmed.
If women decide not to try to have unsafe abortions and give birth to all pregnancies, they might die anyway.
CNN reports that in countries like Somalia, Uganda, and Niger, where women average 6 to 8 children each, the maternal death rate is much higher than in countries with lower birth rates. That's because giving birth, while beautiful and natural and desired in many cases, is fucking dangerous. In fact, giving birth is more unsafe than having an abortion.
Victims of sexual abuse and assault would be forced to carry unplanned pregnancies to term.
Last year, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, a 10-year-old girl was raped and impregnated by her father. Because abortion is outlawed in the state, she was denied her request to have an abortion. Seventeen other Mexican states have similar abortion restrictions on the books.
Pregnant women with cancer would not be allowed to seek treatment.
In Nicaragua, a pregnant 27 year old woman who found out she had cancer was denied treatment for cancer on the grounds that the treatment would endanger her fetus (even though without treatment, the woman was projected to die before the baby was even born). Abortion's been completely illegal in the country since 2006, and women who seek abortions face jail time.
The government's already-strained resources will be further strained.
The Times' Nicholas Kristof aptly points out that the budget conscious country should consider the implications of forcing millions of unwilling mothers to give birth by providing them with birth control necessary to prevent pregnancy. This will promote economic well-being on both a micro level (diapers are fucking expensive) and a macro level (providing schools for a bajillion kids is fucking expensive). Readily available birth control and abortion saves the US an estimated $3.4 billion annually. If only money trees hadn't gone extinct during the Bush administration.
Paying magical detectives to solve miscarriage related whodunits would drain legal system.
Somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 pregnancies result in a miscarriage, and of those miscarriages, 80% happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If abortion is criminalized and fetuses are declared people, then how will we determine the cause of death? Who will do it? Will they need a warrant to search my uterus or can they rely on eyewitness testimony? Will we build itty bitty cemeteries? I guess forcing every single one of the million or so miscarriages that happen every year will create lots and lots of jobs for the FBI's Special Fetal Task Force. Now if only Americans weren't so bad at science.