After your abortion, grandma might sue you

Draft law circulated by a group opposed to abortion rights points to America’s looming descent into a surveillance state.

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The U.S. Supreme Court, behind security fencing at the end of May. It is expected to rule on abortion within days.

The U.S. Supreme Court, behind security fencing at the end of May. It is expected to rule on abortion within days.

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Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has finally overturned Roe v. Wade, a shoe we’ve expected to drop since early May when a draft opinion spiking the 1973 decision was leaked, let’s have a brief pop quiz:

Question: What’s the really bad part about reversing Roe v. Wade?

If you answered something like, “denying American women a right to make their own reproductive decisions, a freedom enjoyed for the past 50 years and one extended to most women around the globe,” I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

Opinion bug


That’s just the bad part.

The really bad part, in my estimation — and, yes, I am a man, so my view might be skewed — is the police state that will be quickly set up to punish not only doctors who provide abortions but anybody who facilitates an abortion — with one notable exception.

But don’t take my word for it.

Take a look at the model law prepared by the National Right to Life Committee. Banning abortion is only the start.

“Current realities require a much more robust enforcement regime than just reliance on criminal penalties,” the draft notes. Waiting to snag offenders isn’t enough. States need “RICO-style laws” that turn whisking Molly across the border into Illinois to fix her “little problem” into a criminal conspiracy.

Where to begin? The fact that a girl is 11 years old doesn’t matter. (That’s not a random number. It’s the age of a girl who became pregnant after being raped in Brazil, where abortion is illegal. She’s now confined by a judge so she can’t have an abortion.) Otherwise: ”We recommend prohibiting abortion except to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.”

They’re talking about physical peril, period.

“Psychological or emotional conditions” are deliberately excluded because, well, suck it up, sister, we’re not falling for that touchy-feely gobbledygook.

The law recommends an abortion be a Level 2 felony. In Indiana, where the firm drafting the law is based, that’s on par with voluntary manslaughter, child sex trafficking and kidnapping, with prison sentences of from 10 to 30 years.

A woman attending an abortion rights rally in Union Park in Chicago on May 14.

A woman attending an abortion rights rally in Union Park in Chicago on May 14.

Getty Images

The only mitigating factor in these model laws is having a pair of X chromosomes. These laws apply to all involved in an abortion “except for the pregnant woman.”

Golly, why is that? You’d think, as the instigator, the woman seeking the abortion would be the most culpable party. And she would be, were abortion actually the murder that religious fanatics pretend it is, when convenient. The woman-exclusion is the tell, the reminder that the entire anti-abortion-rights movement is really about, not babies, but stripping agency from women. They are not the masters of their own lives, but pawns. Women seeking abortions, in the language of the law, are “trafficked.” Manipulated by others. To punish them for seeking abortions would suggest they have free will, which, being female, they don’t. Or at least won’t, once these laws are enacted.

But we haven’t got to the scariest part yet. Not only are abortions banned, but telling people about these so-called “abortions” is criminalized.

“Hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion” will be against the law, the draft law states, barring “knowingly or intentionally giving information to a pregnant woman, or someone seeking the information on her behalf, by telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication.”

And should you suspect this is an obvious infringement on free speech, well, the law is one step ahead of you. It forbids that kind of thinking:

”This [act] may not be construed to impose liability on speech or conduct protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or by [this state’s constitution provision on free speech].”

OK then! And how are these felons to be detected? What if a woman’s terminated pregnancy somehow eludes notice of the local constabulary? Well, then, her relatives can turn on her:

”We recommend establishing civil remedies to be brought by appropriate state or local officials and by persons related to the pregnant woman.”

In other words, your estranged religious fanatic grandma in Missouri can sue you for damages after your mom blabs news of your abortion.

Imagine what that world will be like. Actually, you don’t have to imagine. All we have to do is wait, and we’ll find out.

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