Sunday, July 03, 2022


Elizabeth Spiers thinks abortion bans will be bad for the very rich, too.
The notion that rich women will be fine, regardless of what the law says, is probably comforting to some. But it is simply not true.

... the wealthiest are in for some unpleasant surprises when it comes to abortion. The scenarios where a woman needs an abortion include medical emergencies where any delay in treatment can have severe, even fatal consequences — and in those circumstances abortion pills obtained by mail won’t help. One in 50 pregnancies in the United States are ectopic pregnancies ... delaying that treatment can result in sepsis, internal bleeding and death. Placental abruptions must be addressed immediately to avoid extensive bleeding, renal failure and even, in some instances, death. Any woman who finds herself in either of these scenarios is not going to be able to pack her bags and go for a long drive. Even for someone with the means, an airlift to a medical facility in another state may not be quick enough to save her. She will need to be treated locally and immediately. Some of the bans going into effect around the country include medical exceptions for these situations, but if there’s any ambiguity about what the law allows, the time it takes a medical professional to consult a lawyer may be the difference between life and death.

Some states are expected to try to ban interstate travel for abortions.... It’s also clear that many Republicans view the Roe reversal as an inroad to a total federal ban. If they gain electoral victories in 2024, this is a very likely outcome, and in that case there will be no blue state abortion clinics to travel to.

Many people also assume the wealthy can always find a local doctor willing to perform an abortion, even in a state where it has become illegal. This seems unlikely. While some providers did flout the law and provide women with abortions before Roe in 1973, the ubiquity of digital surveillance and other mechanisms for violating the privacy of women seeking abortions have made it far more difficult for them to do so privately and safely.
At the top of the socioeconomic pyramid, no one will need to consult a lawyer. Those with influence and close ties to prominent politicians will know what they can get away with, while the authorities look the other way. Margaret Atwood knew this when she wrote The Handmaid's Tale. In Gilead, influential men could go to Jezebel's for drinks and prostitutes. In our Gilead, everyone with ties to the right people will know in advance of a problem pregnancy that abortion is an option, because those influential people will ensure that people of "their kind" never get in trouble for obtaining one. Friends take care of friends.

Exemption from consequences might not be permanent, but access to abortion will be reasonably reliable for the right people. Think about Jeffrey Epstein. He flouted the law for years, eventually got a slap on the wrist, returned to his old ways, and was only brought to justice, along with Ghislaine Maxwell, after years of lawbreaking.

America is rife with unequal justice. Often it's not even about money. I've been pulled over by cops for non-working lights or, in one particular speed trap, for a slight shimmy within my lane that wasn't even a violation -- and yet I've never had a gun pointed at my head or been asked to prostrate myself on the pavement. Of course not -- I'm white. We know that cops are even more likely than other men to get away with domestic violence. We know that a small-town mayor's kid who goes on a vandalism spree or commits a sex crime against a high school classmate is likely to avoid punishment.

So, sure, the crackdown on abortion might be more brutal than it was even in the pre-Roe era. Sure, technology will be able to track all violators of the laws, regardless of class. But certain people are above the law. That will never change.

No comments: