Think the death of women’s health care privacy doesn’t affect you? You live in a state that protects choice? You’re past child-bearing age? You’re married and not planning on having more children? You’re against abortion? You’re a man?
Oh, but it does.
Let’s start with ways everyone can appreciate: financial.
- Health care costs will go up.
Medical bills are already the number 1 cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. More unplanned pregnancies mean more unplanned medical expenses. Add that to employment disruptions and chaos (see #3 below) and more defaulting on medical bills is inevitable. Those unpaid bills aren’t going to magically evaporate. Providers will pass them on to consumers.
As doctors will do with increases in malpractice premiums. Think ob/gyn rates aren’t going to go up? Ob/gyns are facing enormous fines or criminal prosecution for treating pregnant women with life-threatening conditions. Insurers will take notice. Which leads to another consequence:
- Health care could be harder to obtain.
Think it’s hard to get a doctor’s appointment now? Just wait until doctors start leaving obstetrics. It would be a prudent business decision for ob/gyns to drop the obstetrics portion of their practice, rather than face the Sophie’s choice of keeping their oath and saving a woman’s life, or refusing care and avoiding criminal fines and jail time. Oh, but might that decision lead to manslaughter charges? Complicated. Oh well.
- Disruptions will hit the workplace.
Think there are supply chain issues now? The pandemic already has businesses of many types grappling with employee loss. A surge in unplanned pregnancies will exacerbate staffing issues — and may fuel reluctance to hiring women of child-bearing age. To protect workforce stability, corporations may avoid investing in or setting up a large presence in states with abortion bans.
- The economy will suffer in states with abortion bans.
Production companies are already pulling out of Atlanta. Parents in states that protect choice will be hesitant to send their children to college in states that don’t. Conventions and corporations and some tourists will go elsewhere. Which means less revenue for hotels, restaurants, stores, museums and all manner of small businesses.
- Families on the edge — and social services — will be stressed.
Lower income women have historically had a higher rate of pregnancy. Disrupt or complicate their ability to work, and watch for increased demand on social services.
What about families that have been barely holding it together financially? Think of the impact of an unplanned pregnancy and associated medical costs, then add in increased child care costs and, of course, the expense of raising the child.
- Men will face child support for raising unplanned children.
Married, unmarried, child support laws don’t distinguish between the two. How will a couple of decades of unplanned child-raising costs fit into your budget?
- Travel could become complicated.
Missouri is threatening to prevent women from traveling out of state to obtain an abortion. The logistical complications are staggering, as would be the costs of administering: Will a pregnancy test be required of women traveling? Would there be roadblocks at borders? Tests at airports? Any such ban would be blatantly illegal, but illegality won’t stop schemes like this from being enacted (just look at the flurry of recent laws that flagrantly violate Roe v. Wade), and will create chaos as the inevitable lawsuits proceed.
- The ban could become national.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that, if the GOP takes Congress.
- Women in every state will lose their health care privacy if the ban becomes national.
- You could lose your right to use contraceptives.
If the Supreme Court is willing to gut a constitutional right enshrined in precedent that has been upheld and upheld for 50 years, any privacy right is in the cross-hairs — and the right to contraception is. The Alito opinion questions Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 decision that protects married couples’ right to buy and use contraceptives. An Arizona Senate candidate wants to ban even condoms.
Speaking of cross-hairs:
- You could be a target for the abortion ban in a state you don’t live in.
There are proposals to criminalize providing help from a safe state to someone in a state with a ban. And Missouri is proposing declaring that life occurs at conception. If you and your spouse have sex in the state, say, on vacation or visiting relatives or on a business trip, and you conceive, Missouri would consider the embryo to be a resident of Missouri. How would they know?
- Your privacy could be invaded.
People who know what you did could report you and get a bounty for it. (You wanted to live in East Germany Redux, right?) Attorneys General in states that prohibit Plan B could subpoena online sellers for records of purchases of specified products. There’s talk of making it illegal to send Plan B into some of these states, but that has the nasty complication of interfering with the mail being a federal crime — but since we’re already wandering into civil war territory, it’s naive not to be braced for fighting over this. (As for how Fed Ex, UPS and DHL would respond … check your terms of service.)
If you live in a state with an abortion ban and suspicion is raised — do you think your search results are safe? (Use incognito windows, people!) Do you think the mapping information on your phone is safe?
Oh, and lest we forget:
- Women will die.
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Drugs or procedures are common to clean it up, to put it bluntly, and not doing that could lead to sepsis. Fear of being prosecuted for murder is incentive not to seek medical attention. Ectopic pregnancies are rare but often life-threatening.
Yet some of the current and pending abortion bans include — and criminalize — as homicide, in some states — miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.
Also, abortions will continue, just not safely in states that ban it.
Women will die. Could be a friend of a friend. A friend’s child or grandchild. A relative of yours. You.
Women will die.
Editor’s Note: This article is republished with permission of the author, with first publication on her Medium site.