Things to Know About Recent Abortion Bills

This post covers things you may want to know about the recent assault on a woman’s right to control her body.

This post has two sections, things you may want to know about the different state laws and things you may want to know about the legal issues.

Things you may Want to Know about the State Laws

  • The so-called heartbeat bills outlaw abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected. Most of the bills set the time at six weeks of pregnancy. The Missouri bill begins at eight weeks of pregnancy.
  • Many women don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks of pregnancy.
  • The bills passed in Alabama, Ohio, and Missouri provide no exception in the cases of rape or incest.
  • The Georgia bill allows abortion up to 20 weeks in the cases of rape or incest, but only if the woman has filed a police report.
  • The Georgia bill could result in women being prosecuted for murder. The reason is the bill defines “natural persons” as including unborn children and does not specifically say women can’t be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter for having an abortion.
  • Under Georgia law, a person convicted of administering criminal abortion faces up to 10 years in prison. Courts have interpreted the law to apply to third parties (not women). But the current law does not specifically shield women from prosecution. Courts could always apply the existing 10-year prison sentence to women who have abortions.
  • The Alabama and Missouri bills specifically say women can’t be prosecuted for having abortions.
  • In Alabama performing an abortion could result in a 99-year prison sentence.
  • Under Alabama law, a man who is at least 16 years old and two years older than the girl he rapes would face the charge of second degree rape. The sentence for second degree rape in Alabama is no more than 20 years in prison.
  • In Alabama, if a 30-year-old man rapes a 14-year-old girl, he would serve no more than 20 years. On the other hand, a doctor who performs an abortion for the 14-year-old rape victim faces a 99-year sentence.
  • In Missouri, performing an abortion could subject someone to a prison sentence of between five and 15 years.
  • Under Ohio’s bill, every instance of performing an abortion could result in a 20 thousand dollar fine.

Things you may Want to Know About the Legal Issues

  • Some of these bills have been blocked by the courts because they violate Roe v. Wade. All of these bills will be blocked while the cases go through the courts.
  • The Supreme Court will ultimately decide the future of abortion in America.
  • My feeling is the justices won’t completely reverse Roe v. Wade; instead, they will create some kind of compromise. They may insist on exceptions in the cases of rape and incest.
  • I don’t believe the Supreme Court will entirely repeal Roe because John Roberts cares a lot about his legacy and the public’s view of the judiciary.
  • I could be very wrong. The right of women to control their bodies is under more of a threat than it has been in nearly 50 years.
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