abortion, Bioethics, legislation

If Roe Goes . . .

A Washington Post editorial(free registration required) is so outrageous in its appeal to the extreme that everyone who reads it should be offended.

If Roe Goes, Our State Will Be Worse Than You Think

By Linda Hirshman
Sunday, September 28, 2008

(First come the horror stories.)

In the 1980s, when abortion was severely limited in then-West Germany, border guards sometimes required German women returning from foreign trips to undergo vaginal examinations to make sure that they hadn’t illegally terminated a pregnancy while they were abroad. According to news stories and other accounts, 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.

. . . . Even Georgia, one of the two states involved in that case, allowed some abortions for the health of the mother.

(As did Texas. Two doctors were needed to sign off on an abortion.)

. . . their children would be deformed by the anti-morning-sickness drug thalidomide. . .

. . . religions weren’t much engaged in politics. Today, the politics of abortion have changed. In addition to old laws that would spring back up should Roe be reversed, the nonpartisan Guttmacher Institute

(The Guttmacher Institute is the education and research arm of Planned Parenthood, focused on advocacy of abortion. Does it really matter whether or not the Institute is partisan?)

. . . lists four states — Louisiana, Missisippi, North and South Dakota — as having 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.

(The criminal penalties are restricted to the person who performs the abortion.)

. . .The difference today is that some states with criminal abortion laws will almost certainly also forbid their residents to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. 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.

(How many of us believe that there should not be a penalty for a sexual predator or the mother of our daughter’s boyfriend if they take our daughters out of State for a surgical procedure without our permission or knowledge?

In any case, we have a precedent of sorts. 70% of Texas voters passed a State Constitutional Amendment to specifically forbid same sex marriage or civil unions. However, no one attempts to prevent anyone, including gays and lesbians, from traveling to California for the weekend. We won’t allow for divorces or division of property in our courts and probably wouldn’t allow a woman to sue for malpractice in our courts for an illegal procedure.)


It’s easy to imagine the anti-abortion states pushing the envelope with once improbably restrictive laws, such as one requiring clinics to be licensed by the state and prohibiting women from getting abortions in unlicensed clinics, either in- or out-of-state.

(And how is it wrong to require that clinics are licensed?)

. . . How would state laws forbidding pregnant women to leave be enforced? The Hope Clinic in Granite City, Ill., is just 10 minutes from the Missouri border. Police from the prohibiting state can just take the license plates of local vehicles at the abortion clinics across the state lines and arrest the women when they re-enter the state. Or a traffic stop can produce a search. Tips from pharmacy workers, disapproving parents or disappointed boyfriends can alert the police to arrest the pregnant woman for intent to seek an abortion out of state. The state law may allow interested parties to seek injunctions to stop her from leaving.

(Here we are brought back to the fear that State police will not only forcibly examine women who cross the State lines, but that they will stalk all women who leave the State. First, I don’t know how any State could afford all those wages, extra patrol cars or even the medical exam kits. Secondly, I can’t imagine getting the law allowing such acts by law enforcement officers.

Please do write Ms. Hirshman at the address, below.)


Linda Hirshman, a lawyer and former professor of law and philosophy, is the author, most recently, of “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World.”


Okay, how does she feel about a woman working as Vice-President with a husband and 5 kids?

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


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