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Criminalizing abortion

The anti-abortion group National Right to Life (NRLC) has released a model bill (pdf) meant to be used by state legislatures to restrict abortion in nearly all instances in the new post-Roe America.

“We recommend prohibiting abortion except to prevent the death of the pregnant woman,” the NRLC document begins. If someone otherwise causes an abortion, the model law would charge them with a Level 2 felony. Language like this would cover doctors who perform an abortion, unlicensed “black market” abortion providers, and anyone who provides an abortion pill to a pregnant woman.

The NRLC goes further, recommending that anyone who “aids or abets an illegal abortion” be subject to the same criminal penalties.

Aiding or abetting an illegal abortion should include, but not be limited to: (1) giving instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication regarding self-administered abortions or means to obtain an illegal abortion; (3) hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion; (4) offering or providing illegal “abortion doula” services; and (5) providing referrals to an illegal abortion provider.

Notice the third provision: anyone who hosts a website with, for example, reporting on the availability of abortion pills would be subject to criminal and civil penalties for “aiding or abetting” an abortion. This legislation would attack the entire informational infrastructure around abortion. Like with the “Don’t Say Gay” and anti-CRT bills, the vagueness in the language is intentional. With no clear limits, people will start to police themselves, their language, and their expression, for fear of breaking the law.

Abortion bounties

Another conservative activist group, the Thomas More Society, is drafting model legislation modeled on Texas’ bounty law that would target those who help an individual cross state lines to obtain an abortion.

“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.”

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, led by Republican state legislators, is also reportedly working on a similar bill by collaborating with the authors of the Texas abortion ban. Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert (R), president of the group, said—without evidence—that without bounties on crossing state lines for abortions, people were going to be “trafficking women in order to make money off of aborting their babies.”