When Angie Thomas, the associate director of Louisiana Right to Life, spoke out against the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022, her fellow pro-life advocates were quick to turn on her.
“This bill is self-defeating,” Thomas’s organization tweeted this month. “This is NOT what it means to be pro-life.”
According to The Washington Post, while some of her fellow anti-abortion activists accused her nonprofit of being a party to murder, others implied Thomas and her coworkers wanted abortion to stay legal for job security.
Having spent 20 years counseling women who are considering abortion, Thomas undoubtedly wants her state to ban the procedure. She said she doesn’t believe punishing women who have abortions by charging them with homicide is the way to do it.
The women who have abortions aren’t criminals, Thomas told the Post — they’re victims.
In the weeks since the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, the rift among pro-life advocates over the most effective way to outlaw abortion has only deepened, as lawmakers and activists prepare for a potential post-Roe legal landscape.
“I know some women will object to this, and they will hate it, but we do see women as the second victim in an abortion,” Carol Tobias, current president of National Right to Life Committee, told the Post. “What we have seen over the past 50 years is that a lot of women are pressured into the abortion by a boyfriend, husband, parents, friends, telling her that she has to do it; that it’s her only option.
“I’ve talked to women who have cried buckets of tears because they wish they could live that day over again.”
In 2005, South Dakota lawmakers banned the procedure after hearing the testimony of almost 2,000 women who had been manipulated into having an abortion and regretted it.
According to the Post, South Dakota passed five laws restricting abortion that year, including a trigger ban that will take effect if Roe is overturned. Doctors who perform abortions can be charged with a felony under the ban, while patients cannot.
When the bill to charge women who have abortions with murder was introduced in Louisiana this year, some pro-life advocates said the legislation was not needed. If Roe is overturned, the state’s trigger law will take effect, causing the abortion clinics to shut down. Doctors performing the procedure will face jail time.
Some anti-abortion activists argue that such consequences may not be enough, however.
Mary Ziegler, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law whose book examines the history of abortion fights, told the Post that authorities will not be able to prosecute the doctors who prescribe pills for abortions “because that person, more often than not, is going to be not in a place like Louisiana. They’re going to be in New York or California or the Netherlands.”
“And so, the people who thought it was OK to punish patients all along are now starting to say, ‘Well, what do you really want us to do in that situation? Do you want us to just not do anything?’ “
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