States Rights Meets Roe v. Wade

Thursday, August 4, 2022

To the Editor,Used to be that a woman could get an abortion if she thought she needed one.  Within limits, that is.  But then in June the Supreme Court walked away from that Roe v. Wade thing, which had more or less guaranteed the right to an abortion.  And a mare’s nest of laws followed.  Some states, those red, “prolife” places, already had “trigger laws” on the books saying that abortion would become a crime when the Court walked away from Roe v. Wade.  Other states leaned in that direction but then began the old political dilly dally.  Meanwhile those blue, “prochoice” places started working on laws – and even constitutional amendments – to protect abortion rights from the prolife folks.  And still others, of course, didn’t say much at all.  It’s become, well, I’ll repeat myself, a mare’s nest. Weirdest thing, though.  Some states have boundary jumped, saying (a) our women can’t have abortions here and (b) if they get one in another state that’ll be a crime too, and they’ll be arrested when they come home.  Happens that most of these places have been saluting “states rights” ideas since before the civil war.  That was the “right” that let the South try to leave the union.  That’s still the “right” that Texas uses to send its state troopers to the southern border.  Don’t matter what Washington or a neighbor state says.  Here in our state we’ll do what we please.  The neighbors can do what they please too, of course (although we’re not sure about Washington).Which gets me to wondering about a guy I know here in Red Lodge.  And one I know who lives in Salt Lake City. The guy in Red Lodge (where prostitution is illegal) spends a weekend in a Reno brothel (where prostitution is legal) and then comes home.  Could that guy be arrested for doing something that’s illegal (in Montana) while he was in Nevada (where it isn’t)?  If I visited a Nevada brothel, I’d be expecting trouble when I got home but I doubt it would be coming from the sheriff. Or the guy in Salt Lake City (where gambling is illegal) spends a weekend in a Las Vegas casino (where it is legal) and then goes home.  Could that guy be arrested for doing something that’s illegal (in Utah) while he was in Nevada (where it isn’t)?  Again, I’m thinking:  back in Utah he might be in trouble with his church but he wouldn’t hear a peep from the law. Confusing, ain’t it?  Does “states rights” end where abortion begins?  Or is there something particular about prostitution, or gambling, that gets a wink from law enforcement?  Is it just that boys-will-be-boys?  What about girls?  You’ve heard about the 10-year-old in Ohio who was knocked up by a rapist and had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion.  And now her doc in Indiana is in trouble.  Now there's a criminal, and I’m not talking about the rapist.  Jim PierceRed Lodge

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