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In The Future, Police Could Be Checking Your Uterus At State Lines

Illustration for article titled In The Future, Police Could Be Checking Your Uterus At State Lines

See this adorable pro-choice baby? Her right to an abortion may be seriously imperiled, says today's Washington Post, in which perspicacious feminist Linda Hirshman envisions an America without legal abortions; in fact, if John McCain is elected, what sounds like a terrifyingly fascistic dystopian fantasy could plausibly be a reality for this wee one. Here's the scenario, as Hirshman explains it. John McCain is elected, a Supreme Court Justice retires or dies, and a "suitably conservative" replacement is chosen. The now-majority conservative Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade. "Well, that wouldn't be so bad, you may think. Some states (or even cities and counties) will offer abortion, and others won't…A lot of states had pretty liberal laws in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade," Hirshman points out, before noting, "But it's not 1972."First of all, the country has made a sharp right turn since those halcyon hippied-out days of the late 60s and early 70s, when people were more sympathetic towards women who sought abortions. Already, Hirshman notes, "Four states — Louisiana, Missisippi, North and South Dakota — [have] trigger laws explicitly aimed at making abortion criminal upon Roe' s demise, and seven others that have committed to acting to the extent that the court may allow." But it gets worse. Not only are these "trigger laws" much more stringent than the pre-Roe anti-abortion laws, but there is evidence that states will prosecute women for crossing state lines to get abortions. "Missouri already allows civil litigation against anyone who helps a minor cross state lines to get an abortion without parental consent. Congress was well along to passing a law making it criminal to take a minor from a state requiring parental consent when the Democrats won in 2006 and stopped it," Hirshman explains. How would they prove that women had abortions when they took that joyriding trip into Illinois, Hirshman asks? Well the border regions of ultra conservative states could turn into a modern day West Germany, as in the 80s, when abortion was severely limited, "The guards would stop young women and ask them about drugs, then look for evidence of abortion, such as sanitary pads or nightgowns, in their cars, and eventually force them to undergo a medical examination — as West German law empowered them to do." Obviously, that's a worst case scenario, and not the immediate chain reaction that will commence if McCain and that anti-abortion avenger Palin are elected. But the article is a stark reminder that we should not take our reproductive choices for granted. If the recent memo from the Department of Health and Human Services allowing health care workers to practice their consciences when it comes to reproductive medicine is any indication, if there is another Republican White House, the battle for choice will continue. If Roe Goes, Our State Will Be Worse Than You Think [Washington Post] Earlier: Roe Vs. World


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We're putting the cart before the horse. McCain is slowly becoming unelectable (thank you Sarah Palin!). The energy we could put into ranting about this possibility is better spent getting Obama in the White House.

I really don't think this vision would come to pass anyway. The genie is out of the bottle. Look at prohibition (I know, not quite the same thing) — seemed like a good idea to ban drinking. Turned out that it only exacerbated problems. Banning abortion would be along the same lines — driving the problem underground and creating a world rife with crime, disease, and death. I doubt any Supreme Court Justice would really want to sign off on that.