Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Abortion advice could make you a criminal.

Americans take note: if you live in a state that does not allow legal abortions, and you advise someone to go to a state which does, then you could go to jail. The issue of parental notification is fine -- that actually makes a certain amount of sense. (Although, it should never be used as a way for parents to force their children to raise grandchildren against their child's will.) The problem is that this bill would waste police resources in pursuing, say, priests or grandparents or close friends who try to help young women (who may not, given the wording in the article, actually pursue the abortion when all is said and done). Criminalizing the dissemination of information is fascism. No discussion on that point. Criminalizing people who are helping minors participate in a perfectly legal medical procedure is not fascist -- it's insane. Should one go to jail for helping minors get facelifts? Of course not. But, for some reason, once a fetus gets involved, sanity goes out the window.

At the end of the day, bills like this are a way to try to end-run around the legalization of abortion and the growing recognition that it is often a medical decision, not a legal or moral one. (And, when it is a moral decision, it may often be correct to decide against the life of the fetus.) Even if it passes, given that the Democrats seem to be waking up and may actually take back the House and Senate, I would expect that we would see more bills piling up to undercut this bill.

The question I have, though, is why Republicans keep bothering. They don't win these sorts of fights. So, the only consequence this will have is to markedly increase suffering in the US. That seems to be pretty much their MO these days -- the more people are hurting, both at home and around the world, the better.

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