One of the staple claims of the forced-birth movement is that they don’t want to persecute or prosecute women; no, the only people who should be prosecuted are the doctors, the evil baby-killers. If someone slips and says sure, the women need to go to prison too, it’s quickly walked back, as with Donald Trump saying it in his 2016 campaign.
As Jessica Valenti says, this is an obvious lie even before this past month. Now? Well, Georgia, which passed a 20-week limit to abortion a few years back, has a breathtakingly extreme heartbeat bill that says women can be prosecuted as killers if they get abortion. Georgia attorney Andrew Fleischman explains that as the bill also gives fetuses full human status as legal persons, that implies most rules on dealing with human deaths would apply. That raises the possibility women can be prosecuted even if women go outside Georgia to abort, or that law enforcement could investigate miscarriages Just In Case (the late, unlamented Georgia Republican Bobby Franklin proposed that a few years ago). Mark Joseph Stern warns against assuming it can’t happen here.
The reaction from all those right-to-lifers who don’t want to punish the mother? Crickets. Or arguments that the law may allow that but Of Course it won’t be enforced. The Resurgnt website (no links, sorry) objects it didn’t go far enough, and rants about people who support abortion because they’ve “gotten so used to being able to have sex whenever they please.” The writer considers this a bad thing.
In Ohio, Republican state Rep. John Becker has sponsored a bill banning private insurance coverage of abortion, as well as birth control methods that could block a fertilized egg implanting in the womb. This doesn’t usually happen with birth control pills, often not even morning-after pills — good discussion here — but I’m sure even a .1 percent chance will be found illegal. Becker doesn’t see this as a problem: if women can no longer afford current birth control methods, someone will invent new ones, right? Oh, but the bill specifically states that transferring an ectopic pregnancy (the embryo develops outside the womb) back to the womb is not abortion; this actually can’t be done. Possibly Becker’s an idiot; he’s actually said he doesn’t know what the bill blocks, he’ll leave that to “people smarter than me.” Or given the right’s distaste for birth control, he knows perfectly well. Maybe the ectopic pregnancy exemption is to make it look like ectopic pregnancies are viable so they can’t be aborted despite the health risks to the mother (El Salvador won’t allow ectopic abortions until the embryo ruptures). Yes, I’m that cynical about forced birthers.
Ohio is also a heartbeat-bill state, banning abortion after six weeks, with no rape or incest exception; as A-OC has pointed out, abortion is illegal if your period’s just two weeks late.Which could mean an 11-year-old rape victim has to complete her pregnancy. More details here.
And then Alabam passed an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest, but an exception for IV embryos that die in the lab. According to state Senator Clyde Chambliss, IV’s different because “it’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”
I have never understood liberals who insist Republicans don’t want to outlaw abortion. Supposedly that would ruin the power to get people out voting to Stop The Holocaust, but how? It’s not like “Vote Republicans or Dems will bring back abortion!” wouldn’t work — they’ve been doing well with “Democrats will confiscate all your guns” for years and that’s complete bullshit. Plus, a lot of Republican officials are true forced-birth believers; as Scott Lemieux details, it’s pure chance the Supreme Court didn’t outlaw abortion under Reagan.
That doesn’t mean their beliefs make sense: if abortion is equivalent to the Holocaust, as Fred Clark says, forced-birth terrorism would be the moral response, not “vote Republican.” But believe they do.
For extra sexist goodness, Alabama Republican Dickie Drake wants to make it a crime to file a fake rape/sexual molestation charge. Of course, filing a false charge is already illegal, so presumably the goal is to broaden the scope of what can be punished and thereby intimidate victims into silence. The bill doesn’t specify what qualifies as “false” — no charges filed? Wrong person identified? DA decided not to prosecute? — which makes me suspect the worst. It’s not like law enforcement is objective about rape. And some Republicans are that rotten.