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July 13, 2022

Some more coverage and commentary on what criminalization of abortion can and will mean 

In a few posts here and here not long after the Dobbs decision, I flagged some news pieces and some commentaries discussing how the overruling of Roe and the criminalization of abortion in some states might echo through our criminal justice system.  In recent days, have now seen a few more notable pieces further exploring what abortion criminalization could and will mean:

From The 19th, "Prosecutor explains what preparing for a future of post-Roe abortion cases might look like"

From Bloomberg Law, "Progressives Look to Pardon Power as Abortion Access Fix"

From CNN, "Michigan governor signs executive order to protect abortion providers and patients from extradition"

From Mother Jones, "Why Progressive Prosecutors Won’t Save Us in a Post-Roe World"

From Slate, "Why Even Progressive Prosecutors Won’t Be Able to Keep Women Who Have Abortions Out of Jail"

From The Texan, "Texas Freedom Caucus Warns Law Firm of Criminal Liability for Covering Employees’ Abortion Costs"

From the Texas Observer, "Abortion Is (Again) A Criminal-Justice Issue

A few prior related posts:

July 13, 2022 at 05:51 PM | Permalink


In reality, the CJS will have little to no effect on “birthing people” (aka what used to be called mothers). Abortion providers? Hopefully.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 13, 2022 7:09:57 PM

AP story floating in Missouri (https://apnews.com/article/abortion-health-missouri-columbia-fef01a409b24991a4e56cc70c874f0bd). The Governor and Department of Health are refusing to provide any clarity of what would constitute a valid medical emergency. Instead, they are saying that interpreting the law is up to prosecutors.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 14, 2022 10:25:19 AM

"Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) refused to apologize for his since-deleted tweet describing the story of a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim as a “lie,” claiming on Thursday that he was merely “responding to a headline” and took down the post once the alleged rapist was charged.

Republicans and right-wing pundits have been backtracking and pivoting after 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes was arraigned in court on Wednesday on felony charges of raping a person under 13. Court records revealed that the alleged rape of the 10-year-old girl took place on May 12, the girl’s pregnancy was then referred to local child services on June 22, and eight days later she had a medical abortion
in neighboring Indiana."

The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs will lead to ever more horror stories.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Jul 14, 2022 3:32:57 PM


It was the illegal immigrant Garson Fuentes who created the horror story. Frankly, the left cares not one iota about that girl other than as a tool to make a point. If they did, stopping the flood of people coming across our border would get as much attention.

If they cared about the girl, they would also be calling for the head of the abortion provider who referred the girl to to Indiana. They are required to report rape victims to the police. It was the mother who did.

The last I read (details can change quickly), it was not even clear if the drive to Indiana was to escape the law. Ohio’s restrictions have exceptions if the mother’s life is in question (a ten year old giving birth would clearly qualify) and some have said they sent her to Indy because they had the expertise in performing abortions on girls that age.

How is a 2.5 hour drive a “horror story?” Did they make the girl walk?

Again, this girl and her story is being used. It’s a fringe case, not relevant to 99.999% of abortions. It is not like the gnashing of teeth would stop if Ohio had a specifically worded exception for ten year old girls who were raped.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 14, 2022 6:41:12 PM

Tarls, your comment led me to review discussions of Ohio's abortion law, and I was struck by this sentence in a Washington Examiner piece by Tiana Lowe:

"Although most conservatives may disagree with Ohio's six-week abortion ban failing to include a rape and incest exception, just about nobody of note in the pro-life movement would ever favor denying an abortion when a pregnancy seriously imperils the life and physical health of the mother."

I have tended to believe most serious pro-lifers are generally (a) against any rape and incest exceptions, and (b) against a "maternal health" (as opposed to a maternal life-saving) justification for abortion. Though I know you do not speak for "most conservatives," Tarls, I wonder if you think this author is distorting prevailing pro-life views of these matters.

Also, a Columbus Dispatch piece reported some interesting data about abortions for girls who got pregnant below Ohio's age of consent (which is 16):

"In 2020, there were 52 abortions in children 15 or younger in Ohio, accounting for 0.3% of the 20,605 abortions performed that year, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Data from the health department shows there were 63 such procedures in 2019, 54 in 2018, 61 in 2017 and 76 in 2016."

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 14, 2022 8:58:09 PM


Even the Catholic Church allows for abortion if the mother’s life is at risk. Here is the rub, though. The pro-death side and their doctors will say anything risks the life of the mother, even “emotional well-being.” It’s definitely a gray area which would need some bold lines drawn. “Maternal health” is a scam. Obviously, I do not know the risk involved with a girl this age.

My main issue is “fringe casing” this. I suspect 80%+ of Americans would have no issue with abortion if it was determined her life would be in danger considerably more than childbirth at a normal child rearing age. Yet, when late term abortions are criticized by pro-lifers, it is scoffed at even though it occurs far more often than 10 year olds getting pregnant.

The left is being entirely dishonest in the debate. You have sitting members of Congress talking about ectopic pregnancies although there has not been a law against these terminations anywhere in the country even proposed. And again, even the Catholic Church approves.

Your data is interesting, but I would point out that 13-15 year olds have been giving birth as a matter of routine for almost all of human history, until about five minutes ago. I don’t see a general case for abortion there.

As far as incest and rape exceptions, I disagree with the writer and feel most serious pro-lifers would not want them, although I may be committing a “No true Scotsman,” fallacy. A crime against one person does not justify punishing someone (the fetus) who did no wrong. It may be difficult on the mother, but a man raped her, not the child.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 14, 2022 11:25:25 PM

Actually, Tarls, early drafts of some bills in Missouri would have barred abortions for ectopic pregnancies. It took a lot of public attention raised on this issue to get that language clarified.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 15, 2022 10:45:42 AM

Thanks for your helpful response, Tarls, and I share your general disaffinity for what you call "fringe casing." That said, it is quite common in all political rhetoric and policymaking, in part because individual stories and anecdotes often move people much more than data runs and quantitative analyses.

That said, the Ohio data together with your other statements leads me to this quantitative assessment: there are likely at least a few thousand female rape victims, aged 13-15, who get pregnant each year and who "most serious pro-lifers" would want to be forced to carry their pregnancies to term. Is that a fair statement? I am not trying in any way to pin you or others to any particular position. I am sincerely interested in fully and properly understanding the particulars of the serious pro-life position.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 15, 2022 11:38:17 AM


It was an early draft that didn’t even make it out of committee. Nor, as far as I know, was the intent to make the termination of ectopic pregnancy illegal. It was imprecisely worded in a manner that put it up for interpretation, so they clarified.

That’s how bills are written.

The procedure to end an ectopic pregnancy is not even an abortion.

Of course there will be a little chaos as things sort out. One side or the other will reach too far and get slapped back.

That’s one of the great things about the Dobbs decision. It is the most democratic of my lifetime.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 15, 2022 11:49:26 AM


In my opinion, I believe your assessment is correct.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 15, 2022 5:29:29 PM

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