Fear and loathing as US states wade into the post-Roe cesspit
Some states have been lying in wait with tough penalties for anyone brave enough to provide abortion care
Now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protected the constitutional right to an abortion, it won’t just be harder for American women to get the procedure — states have also been lying in wait with tough penalties for anyone that will provide the care. Some experts warn that those seeking abortions could also become vulnerable to harsh consequences.
In Louisiana, doctors providing abortions face up to 15 years in prison under a trigger law designed explicitly to take effect after the fall of Roe. And in Texas and Oklahoma, those who help someone receive an abortion are vulnerable to lawsuits from “vigilante” citizens who have been deputised by so-called bounty laws.
While most states with restrictive abortion laws have so far abstained from criminalising people seeking abortions, that often doesn’t stop prosecutors from targeting them. Charges can range from child endangerment to practising medicine without a licence. Meanwhile, some healthcare providers are also tasked to report behaviour that is considered as endangering a pregnancy to law enforcement, the abortion-rights group National Advocates for Pregnant Women notes, a practice that disproportionately impacts black women and other pregnant people of colour. And all of that could ramp up now that Roe is no longer the law of the land...