Old Anti-abortion Laws Are Taking on Unintended Meanings

Even where the words remain the same, a shifting political culture has changed the impact of suddenly revived statutes.

By Daniel K. Williams
SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

Abortion opponents seem not to have expected some of the more draconian consequences of the Dobbs decision—that anti-abortion laws would prevent pregnant women who were not seeking abortions from receiving needed treatment for miscarriages, or that women facing dire medical complications from their pregnancies would not be able to get proper care. After all, the anti-abortion laws that were in force in the pre-Roe era before 1973 were almost never used to prosecute doctors treating miscarriages or providing lifesaving care to women, and all of the anti-abortion laws that went into effect this summer (including the one enacted in Indiana in August) specifically allow abortions in cases where they are necessary to save a pregnant person’s life. A National Review article published in late July insisted that no current state anti-abortion law prevents the treatment of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/abortion-laws-pre-roe/671409/