It’s true. We are very close to a point where anyone with a uterus, or anyone suspected of having one, could have their US right to cross state lines revoked. That’s a hell of a thing to figure out, if you’re not an absolute bloody fascist going into these scenarios, and one would imagine it’s going to take everyone a little while to even wrestle with the idea that this could really be in our future.
The problem with most coverage, and why the Job and other media outlets have to write their stories in such a twisted way is that until recently both possibilities were, from a legal point of view, completely outlandish. It would have been absolutely far-fetched to suggest, from a legal point of view, that new dystopian governments would imprison pregnant Americans in their own states to ensure respect for motherhood. The courts would never tolerate such a thing! It would be such an oddly un-American notion that it would be derided as a fantasy, and still is, even as Republican anti-abortion zealots and lawmakers draft the proposed new laws.
The Job could have saved many paragraphs with a simpler admission: there’s no way to tell what the laws will be in a year’s time, because there’s no frame of “law” that the current Supreme Court won’t take simply a hacksaw in order to get the sectarian verdicts they want to see. It doesn’t really matter what current precedents there are.
What is the outcome desired by the conservative wing of the Supreme Court? A ban on abortions. What civil rights oppose this ban? No matter. They are gone now.
The Biden administration, which tried to sell itself as being caught off guard by the Alito decision that was notoriously leaked long in advance because it “was caught off guard,” is still a better story to tell than “move without a particular sense of urgency,” pledges to protect the right of Republican state residents to receive abortion drugs by federal mail, because federal mail is federal mail, under federal jurisdiction. There is a lot of back and forth about whether this is a workable legal framework, but it’s hard to see this Supreme Court doing anything but mock such theories of federal power.
The Supreme Court has announced that medical care can be denied based on personal religious beliefs by Sam Alito et al. Republican states criminalize medical care under the simple legal theory of Because we can. The state-sponsored abortion restrictions that got us to this point, rule after rule after rule, so restricted medical providers of abortion procedures that abortion was de facto banned in much of the country well. before the current Supreme Court allowed states to formalize these prohibitions, all hinged on the state’s ability to impose rules on healthcare providers intended to ensure the medical “safety” of patients.
The Supreme Court will likely uphold the state’s criminalization of this form of interstate commerce without even a written decision. The shadow folder will be sufficient. Just How? ‘Or’ What such bans will be enforced, given that raids on federal post offices are unlikely to go well, remains an open question – but anyone who receives such drugs can expect to be prosecuted, and it is likely that the digital record of the order for these drugs will be all that is required for these lawsuits to occur, and it is likely that the companies shipping these drugs will be targeted by state attorneys general. en masse.
Medical abortions will not be available in all states where abortion is prohibited. You can say goodbye to this method of resistance right now, unless you have a friend or relative out of state willing to smuggle it across state lines at their own risk and perils.
The right to move between states seems much more fundamental, with emphasis on seemsand the vision of law enforcement checkpoints on state borders is always mocked by those who do not understand that republicanism is, repeat it with me, sincerely a fascist movement. The idea of women, children or anyone else being forcibly imprisoned in their own state if they are suspected of being pregnant is absurd; surely, surely even a virulently anti-government pro-theocracy Supreme Court would never permit such a thing.
Let me ask this, then. Did women have the right to travel unhindered in the 17th century? They do not have. You can expect Samuel Alito to ignore every part of the Constitution and any other law that derives from it in favor of a short excerpt explaining the circumstances in which English women could lawfully be imprisoned in church steeples, in 1600s, based on the personal writings of a particularly distinguished witch hunter who harbored a grudge for 20 years against a particular woman who once responded too curtly to his advances.
The Job again mentions the anti-deer Justice Beer Kavanaugh’s opinion to suggest that the right to travel between states is likely to be better protected than the right to abortion, but Kavanaugh was forced to put this note in a separate agreement because he could not convince his court colleagues to put it in the actual decision. Kavanaugh expresses a outlier take, suggesting that perhaps the Court would not really imprison pregnant women in their country of origin until they give birth or die. He especially didn’t get Alito’s agreement on this particular theory.
Republican states may be unlikely to require residents to take pregnancy tests at new border checkpoints, if they wish to leave the state, but that’s only because there are better ways. to control citizens who will allow connected Republicans to better continue performing as many “recreational abortions” as they wish while criminalizing care for everyone else. Missouri has already attempted a bill modeled after Texas’ “bounty hunter” abortion law. It would not close the borders to potentially pregnant people. This would have impose “civil liability” on anyone assistance a pregnant Missouri woman travels out of state to get an abortion.
This is the most likely scenario we will see. Not border checkpoints, but law enforcement regimes in which anti-abortion zealots and profit-seeking allies sift through datasets tracking purchased smartphones to determine who in the state , recently visited another and who, among these, was at one time in close proximity to an abortion clinic. From there, it only takes a bit of legwork to file a lawsuit asking for money from anyone who might be involved; for laws really modeled after the Texas bounty hunter version, you don’t even have need do a lot of legwork. There is no penalty for falsely accusing whomever you wish to accuse. Want to claim your Republican Governor drove buses to out-of-state abortion clinics on his days off? Dark. The worst that can happen is nothing.
All this talk of legal uncertainties is, for the most part, a spin. We can argue all we want about what the legal outcomes would have been in the days when the Supreme Court was writing precedents and lower courts were interpreting those precedents so that the general body of American law remained consistent and generally knowable – but these are not those days. The Supreme Court willingly overturns even the most recent of its own precedents in order to achieve the result preferred by the conservative majority; lower courts that attempt to use new or old Supreme Court precedents in their own decisions are told, through insubstantial parallel dockets, that Really, the reverse applies, for unspecified reasons, when their results did not favor the conservative attitude. We live in an age of pseudo-legal gibberish written by Fox News addicts who make little effort to get even basic facts before upsetting another set of civil rights serving the church in Sam’s head Alito.
It doesn’t matter what rights citizens had six months ago. That was then, this is now, and the Supreme Court justice who penned the odious opinion announcing that the beliefs of one religious cult would now result in the criminalization of all contrary religious beliefs is mocking his critics to the international audience. You can be absolutely assured that the current Supreme Court will rule that states can restrict the travel rights of potentially pregnant women or can imprison them if they are found to have obtained an abortion. somewhere else. The whole premise of the Dobbs decision was that the state had an interest in prioritizing the “life” of fetuses over their citizen hosts, an interest that could override any citizen rights that would normally apply.
It will happen. All arguments are simply over when.
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