A couple of years ago, I started thinking that the rise of RU486 would eventually mean that outlawing abortion would be as effective as outlawing speeding.
Right now, there are hazards and difficulties in getting a surgical abortion: cost, travel, lunatics with guns and bombs, protestors, mandatory counseling, etc. The number of abortion clinics and providers has been steadily decreasing, making the travel and availability issue even more significant.
RU486 eliminates many of these problems by allowing women to buy the drug discreetly and individually rather than having to go to a known location. There are websites specifically created to facilitate the availability of RU486, especially to countries where abortion services are currently illegal (e.g. http://www.womenonweb.org/ ) Use of RU486 is rising even as abortion numbers are falling. The fall could be due to better use and better availability of birth control, or could be do to those falling numbers of clinics. More doctors now are offering RU486 from their regular practices instead of requiring patients to go for surgical abortion at clinics.
So some foundations are already laid for discreet access to abortions independent of abortion clinics. And this is in an atmosphere of legal (though condemned) abortion.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of illegal back-alley abortion. RU486 is much safer. I’ve seen a variety of statistics on the necessarily followup care as compared to a surgical abortion, from stats suggesting that RU486 is much more likely to have side effects (especially incomplete abortion) to those that suggest it’s right in line with surgical abortion, which is a very safe operation.
I’ve found 23 states with explicit laws making abortion illegal in the event of Roe being overturned. I didn’t spend all that long looking, though.
Okay, that’s some background, so:
wavy lines of time travel
**McCain gets elected. Roe is overturned. State laws outlawing abortion are back in force.
Note: I’m not at all interested in talking about the morality of abortion. If that’s your only interest, shoo to your own thread.
My thoughts: Initially, abortions would fall. There would be a spike in states where they are legal but overall numbers would fall.
I think that period would be very brief as organizations mobilize to provide RU486 in states where abortions are illegal. Official numbers would stay low, but real numbers would begin to creep up inexorably until they are somewhere in the vicinity of current numbers. As the availability of the drug grew, women who would not have opted for surgical abortion today because of the difficulties would find medical abortion more private and more convenient for them, and much safer than illegal surgical abortions might be.
Thoughts? I’m contemplating mostly the abortion-centric outcomes and not the political outcomes, but those are welcome in this thread, too. Would it be a dangerous move for the Republican party, for example?