Let’s indulge a thought experiment. Let’s imagine the repeal of Roe v. Wade, effectively returning to each state complete sovereignty over the abortion issue. Let’s further suppose that Texas, not wishing to be outdone, legislates abortion to be the same as first degree murder (far from impossible – if abortion is murder – and no abortion is ever not pre-meditated – then abortion is pre-meditated murder, 1st degree murder), punishable by death or life in prison without hope of parole. Let’s further suppose a Texan Jane Roe who just found out that she is pregnant and for whatever reason does not want to have a baby, Texas law notwithstanding.
What does Jane do? Real easy! Jane travels to neighboring Colorado where they have not legislated against abortions, and she has an abortion. Jane then returns to her home in Texas.
Now what? What does Texas do? Does Texas arrest her? How does Texas know that Jane had an abortion? Are all Texas women who leave the state followed? Will a work colleague or a neighbor snitch on Jane? The state will need better evidence than a snitch to prosecute Jane for the crime of abortion. Will the Colorado doctor who performed the abortion cooperate with Texas law enforcement and appear to testify against his former client? Will Colorado state law compel the doctor to help Texas make its case? How does Texas go about proving Jane had an abortion – where it was legal to do so?
Let’s imagine instead that Jane does not dare to risk returning to her home state where she might be arrested, even if it might be difficult to prove her guilt. Jane takes up residence in Colorado. Does Texas then seek to extradite Jane for murder of an unborn child? Would Colorado respect such an assault on their proper sovereignty?
If you say that Texas will be content not allowing abortions within its borders and not providing a home for those women who were careless enough to need an abortion, an unintended but absolutely certain consequence of such thinking will be the slow but steady emigration from Texas of women who would rather not take the chance of running afoul of Texas law. You may speculate whether that would be a net positive or a net negative, but it will be a loss, guaranteed.
One of the biggest hurdles that Pro-Life forces face is coming up with a workable legal response to a woman having an abortion. Before Roe v. Wade made it legal everywhere to have an abortion in the first trimester, women had abortions that were performed illegally. Outlawing abortions does not stop abortions; it just makes abortions difficult and ugly and dangerous.
Addendum: Thursday, 12/10/2015
A few paragraphs above I suggested that rigidity on abortion would cause an emigration of women from Texas, and I suggested it would be a loss to Texas. It looks like Texas is committed to brain drains. See this news flash!