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Abortion Rights Advocates Alarmed By Prosecution Threats If Roe Falls

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, state abortion bans that would go into effect would allow prosecution of providers, such as doctors, or pharmacists who provide abortion-inducing pills. A Texas law would carry a sentence of up to life in prison for performing an abortion, while in Louisiana, providers could face up to 10 years hard labor, Reuters reports. Laws that would go into effect if Roe is reversed often explicitly shield women who sought or obtained an abortion. "If the law says that the abortion provider can be held accountable, the woman is not part of that," said Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee. "I don’t see anyone who wants that or thinks it would be appropriate. It’s more scare mongering from the other side."

Some abortion rights advocates are alarmed by recent events in three states that are poised to ban abortion. In Missouri, legislation was proposed that aimed to prevent women from leaving the state to get an abortion and to extend the state's abortion laws to procedures performed outside the state on its residents. The proposals did not gain traction. In Louisiana, legislators advanced a bill out of a committee that aimed to charge women with murder for obtaining an abortion. The bill was withdrawn. In Texas, a woman was arrested and charged in April for a self-induced abortion before charges were dropped. Police and prosecutors can investigate lost pregnancies and charge women under existing laws related to concealment of a birth, abuse of a corpse and practicing medicine without a license, says Jill Adams If/When/How, which provides legal support for women facing prosecution related to pregnancy. Although rare, abortion providers have been prosecuted. In 2013, a doctor in Philadelphia was convicted of murder in the deaths of three infants following late-term abortions. Leslie Reagan, a professor at the University of Illinois and author of books on abortion, said that before Roe, women were often threatened by police, interrogated in hospitals and forced to testify about intimate personal details.


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