If Roe v. Wade were overturned, what would be the practical results?

If the post-O’Connor Supreme Court were to have a chance to review Roe v. Wade, and if it were to reverse that decision – and I think that prospect is the main reason the political battle lines are being drawn before Bush has even named Justice O’Connor’s replacement – what would be the practical result of that? Abortion would not, of course, immediately be banned, but it would lose its status as a constitutionally protected issue; it would become an ordinary political issue for the legislatures to decide. That sounds nice and safe, but consider the consequences. I think some state legislatures – in some of the “red states” – would immediately vote to outlaw it. And then abortion clinics in those states would be shut down. And then pregnant women in those states desiring abortions would travel to other states where abortion is legal – which would obviate the intent of the legislation. And then some of those state legislatures, arguing the compelling state interest in protecting fetal life from “murder,” would pass legislation forbidding travel out of state in such cases. And then? Imagine the enforcement problems! Imagine the need for border checks with pregnancy tests! Pro-choice groups would organize an “underground railroad” to smuggle abortion-seekers out of no-abortion states, state authorities would try to crack down on them, there might even be pro-life vigilantes trying to shut down the underground railroad, and it would be a big, ugly, horrible mess. Does anyone envision a rosier scenario?

Sure. The states that move to outlaw abortion suffer a massive backlash from female citizens who see an important right being taken away, they mobilize to get these legislators removed from office and the growing semi-theocratic movement in American politics is strangled in its, heh, crib. Thus a newly and wholly secular America prepares to face the 21st century where creationism and other backward-looking ideas are relegated to history’s dustbin. The citizens of theocratic governments worldwide see how much better life is without holy men in power and they kick the bums out. Unified in reason, the world places a multinational Mars Colony in place by 2030.
Not that it’s likely, but it looks rosier to me.

I think it would become impossible, or at least prohibitively difficult, to get an abortion south of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. It might not stay that way, but it would probably be that way for at least the intermediate term.

We’ve discussed this before. Most recently here.

Reversing Roe would be a disaster for the Conservatives. Presently, politicos can say they want Roe to be overturned, and people will vote for them secure in the knowledge that the SC will protect their right to an abortion. Should Roe be overturned and should the police begin arresting women who get abortions, a great many people would go bonkers.

I would think that many Conservative politicians would have to adopt a more moderate stance.

Or not.

On rereading the OP, I now realize that the citation above does not apply.

I don’t think a law banning interstate travel for the purposes of getting an abortion in another state would withstand constitutional scrutiny. The right to travel freely from state to state has been historically a constitutionally protected activity under the 14th Amendment and Article IV Privileges and Immunities Clauses.

None in my state. We had that right before WvR.

Might be interesting to see if states that outlaw or hamper abortion see a relative rise in crime rates 15 years later, perhaps creeping up to the levels of the late 1980s before the “Roe+15” barrier was reached and crime rates began falling.

Yeah, some state senator, long retired after a lifetime of public service and voting for anti-abortion laws gets clubbed to death for his car by some 15 year-old from an abusive, neglectful, lower-class home… irony.

They’ll be movements in the fedral government and in all fifty states to ban abortion.

Very few states will actually suceed in banning it outright, but quite a few will impose further restrictions in an attempt to compromise and avoid the political shitstorm. In some states, this will often mean banning abortion except in cases of risk of the mother’s health and rape. In those states, reported incidents of rape will skyrocket (arrests and conviction for rape will not). As will diagnoses of complications in pregnancy necissitating medical abortion.

Depending on the exact opinion overturning RvW, there may be indirect consequences too. For example, it may be constitutional to ban birth control again. That won’t happen, BC is too mainstream now. It also may be constitutional to ban sodomy. That will happen, but it will be shoddily enforced, as before.

Politically, the Pro-Life contingent will demobilize. The Pro-Choice voters will mobilize as they’ve never been seen before, and have a natural home in the Democratic party. The pendulum will follow them leftward. At least until they suceed in protecting abortion rughts nationwide again.

Which would make it an interstate coomerce issue, involving … guess who? :smiley:

But it’s unlikely. I’ve never heard of states that outlaw gambling or the sale of alcohol or fireworks trying to catch people crossing state lines, that would then be an interstate commerce issue. Are there any precedents of states being allowed to criminalize leaving the state to engage in a legal act?

You can cross the border into Nevada to visit a brothel and not get fined/ticketed when you get home. Prostitution is illegal pretty much everywhere else in the states but it doesn’t follow you from jurisdiction to jursidiction. The Nevada brothels would have closed down long ago if that were the case and I would be suprised if this issue has not come up once or twice before. Crossing state lines with intent to commit an act which would be a crime in the home jursidiction happens in this arena all the time. Probably some caselaw there for anyone who knows how to search or has access to Westlaw or Lexis/Nexis.


MHO is that many states may impose restrictions, nothing too bad, like banning late term abortion and requiring parental notification. Some states will fully allow it as it is today.

A very small number will be very restrictive, which will increase the amount of people convicted/registered as sex offenders as woman will claim rape to avoid these restrictions.

If too many states get very restrictive I suspect a backlash and a push for a amendment, but I don’t see that enough states will be that restrictive, so many people’s lives will be destroyed due to Meagan’s Law (woman claims rape to get a abortion, father is convicted and must serve time and register on the sex offender list).

Here’s an odd one: marital rape may be made legal again in some states. (It was legal in some states through the 1990s). The idea being, some couple claim marital rape as the basis for an abortion. So the state realizes that it has a “backdoor” to abortion in those laws, and decriminalizes marital rape.

A lovely outcome, but very much in keeping with the general hostility to women’s rights shown by anti-choice folks.

A more likely outcome would be a law denying the abortion option in instances of rape where the rapist is the woman’s husband. Also lovely. The husband can knock up his wife whether she wants to be pregnant or not. (The real intent of the anti-choice folks maybe?)

I think the difference here is the prediction that individual states will outlaw abortion under the aegis of “protecting our unborn citizens from murder.” If you murder someone or commit a similarly heinous crime, it would stand to reason that prosecution would be in order, no matter where the crime happened. If the ban-state claims it has a stake in its “unborn citizen,” it doesn’t seem to require lots of tinfoil to predict interstate enforcement and prosectution of the murders of its own “unborn citizens”.

In your Nevada prostitution example, there is no “victim” from the visitor’s state: the prostitute stays in Nevada. (Of course, I consider prostitution one o’ them victimless crimes, so it’s hard for me to find a victim on either side of the transaction.) Same thing for smoking dope in Amsterdam.

OTHO I read that we are at least investigating and looking to prosecute men who go on underage “sex tours” in other countries. Perhaps because, again, we recognize the severity of the offense and choose our battles. “Murder” is a pretty big battle. And I don’t see any justification for outlawing abortion other than to go the “murder” route. It clearly can’t be banned as an unsafe medical procedure.

IANAL, I do wear a tinfoil hat when it comes to abortion rights.

I thought it was ‘legal’, as in it was found not possiable for a person to rape their spouse.

Anti-choice? perhaps you should take that to the pit. You do realize that many pro-life people view abortion as murder, which for all intentive purposes does not allow a choice, there is nothing to choose just like you can’t murder your 2 yr old.

I think you are missing the true POV of the pro life camp. It is not about womens rights, it’s about human rights. Now I’m sure there may be one or two ‘pro-lifers’ out there who wish to deny all rights to women, but that is not how most prolifers take it.

Try driving from Massachusetts to New Hampshire right now. Every year around the Fourth of July the Massachusetts state police write down license plate numbers of everyone heading north, then pull over any cars heading back south too soon to have done anything more than buy fireworks. I’ve also heard of them making similar efforts in regard to out of state booze, but I don’t know if that’s anything more than occasional random stings.

Of course, they can only arrest you on the return trip, when you are actually breaking the law, which would be impossible in the abortion hypothetical. The state can take your booze and fireworks away, but can’t give you your unborn baby back.

Legislation that would make it a crime to cross state borders to obtain an abortion? A form of it, making it a crime to help a minor cross the state line to obtain an abortion in states where you need overt parental consent, has, I believe, already been proposed. I don’t have a cite with me but if anyone’s gut reaction is to cry “bullshit” I’ll see if I can find the story and the state and so on.


Have you looked closely at your leadership? Whether Catholic or Protestant, a great many of the RTL movers and shakers have also indicated that they’d like to restrict access to birth control, at least for nonmarried women; and that they oppose feminism and all that is associated with it;

I think you are missing the true POV of the pro life camp. Given the remainder of the politics of the politicians involved, it is laughable to posit that these folks are in general a bunch of bleeding-heart human rights activists concerned about the killing of the fetus.

It’s as likely as the true central motivation of pro-choice leaders being the sanctity of a doctor’s right to make medical decisions unimpeded by anything but the requirement of informed consent by the patient.

Nope. In 1976 Nebraska (Kansas’ smarter, better educated cousin) passed the first marital rape law. By 1993 fifty states had passed laws allowing husbands to prosecuted for sexually assaulting their wives (in some cases, the amount of violence used is an important factor).

Here’s a cite for ya.

Hardly a pitworthy pejorative, Mr. Junior Mod Sir.

Nope. I think I have their number. I think you are the one who is mistaken. Umm, especially in the case of all those Catholic anti-abortion supporters who also oppose birth control, and all those Southern Baptist Convention types who think a wife should be submissive to her husband. Yep, I know who I’m dealing with, alrighty.

My leadership? Not really, I am very very reluctantly (and hate to admit it) pro-choice. I do believe that the choice is made when she consents to have sex - this allows an exception for rape and I can’t come up with a reason why such a fetus has a right to live inside her under these circumstances (rape) w/o her choice. Practically speaking this would lead to a lot of ‘fathers’ to be tried and convicted (incorrectly) as sex offenders as the ‘mothers’ would have to claim rape to get a abortion. Because of this very real possibility I (sadly) feel that the right to have an abortion is needed.

You are using the extreme to make your point, it is pretty obvious that people believe that sex is for procreation in marriage will fall into the pro life camp, this does not mean that the majority of prolifers subscribed to this (the old strawman arugment).

Feminism has evolved to the point that is it pretty easy to oppose. This is not the same feminism which is associated with the 60’s and more correctly called feminazism IMHO.

Know your enemy, which you obviously don’t, or at least don’t understand their mindset, and their view of reality. Painting them as extremists does not help the situation. Do you have a problem with this religion because of the gender rolls? What should be done about it? Same Q’s about Islam to you.

Religions will have certain POV’s and in this country they can have such views and openly express such views (hmm I wonder if there is some amendment for these). This does not make it the mainstream pro-life view (again resorting to a strawman)