Why not much will change surrounding abortion after Roe v. Wade reversal


Saying this won’t be very popular, but I think what may surprise people in the coming months is how little will change surrounding abortion. 

Blue states aren’t going to be restricting abortion at all, and their governors say they intend to use taxpayer dollars to cover the costs for women traveling from other states to get an abortion. Fourteen states have “trigger laws” that have already banned or will soon ban all or most abortions — Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. (Wisconsin has a ban that its Democratic governor says will not be enforced.)

In most of those states, abortion clinics were already few and far between. The abortion rate in places such as Alabama (6.3 per 1,000 women) and Arkansas (5.1) is significantly lower than the rate in places such as the District of Columbia (23.9) and New York (20.3).

Bans are going into effect where the fewest abortions occur already — meaning the national abortion rate may not decline all that much in the coming years.

Supporters of abortion rights cheer outside a Planned Parenthood clinic during a protest in West Hollywood, Calif., Friday, June 24, 2022.
Fourteen states have “trigger laws” that have already banned or will soon ban all or most abortions.
AP/Jae C. Hong

Lines already drawn

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2019, 629,898 legal induced abortions occurred in 47 states, the District of Columbia and New York City, not including California, Maryland and New Hampshire. One analysis estimated that with Roe overturned, about 100,000 fewer abortions will occur in the US each year.

You will see a lot of arguments about enacting bans or additional restrictions in swing states, but if those states had legislative majorities and governors who intended to enact restrictions on abortion, they likely would have passed those restrictions by now.

Abortion via pills will be exceptionally tough to regulate or eliminate. Telehealth will allow those who want chemical abortions to consult doctors in other states. And we may well see abortion clinics set up shop near state lines in abortion-permitting states that border those where it’s banned.

The end of Roe may well launch a new era where America has somewhat fewer abortions, and those who seek to terminate their pregnancies travel to the nearest pro-abortion state or obtain abortion pills through the mail. This is neither “The Handmaid’s Tale”–style misogynist dystopia that the pro-choice crowd warns about, nor the child-welcoming utopia that pro-lifers wish to see.

There will be an effort to enact federal legislation, but it is difficult to see either pro-lifers or pro-choice forces attaining the necessary legislative majorities to do so. Assuming this year’s midterms shake out as expected, the US will have divided government until at least January 20, 2025, and abortion legislation from one side would face a filibuster from the other. Lawmakers would need not merely legislative majorities in both houses and control of the presidency, but majorities who think imposing policy changes on resistant states is a good idea.

If you think America’s current tensions are bad, envision a pro-life Republican Congress attempting to ban abortion in New York, or a pro-choice Democratic Congress attempting to require legal taxpayer-funded abortion throughout the South.

From National Review.


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