Abortion: The Black Market Awaits

Three cheers for crime. If moralists have their way, it will only get worse.

How coincidental that within three short weeks of Justice Sam Alito’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the anti-abortion lobby of South Dakota convinced state lawmakers to pass a sweeping bill outlawing abortion in all instances, except to save the life of a mother. Louisiana followed suit, and at least twelve other states are introducing similar legislation.

Progress v Regress?

With only 800 procedures performed a year in it’s lone clinic, South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the country. But backers of the bill say they intend for it to reach far beyond the state’s borders and into many other states. The movement for overturning Roe v. Wade is now well on its way. The pro-life lobby has the jump start its been waiting for over the last thirty years.

Who said there was no litmus test for Supreme Court appointees?

According to the most recent Gallup polls, 53 percent of the population consider themselves pro-choice and 42 percent pro-life. Never mind that a whopping 66 percent say they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Those figures have remained relatively constant for the last twenty years, despite all the baby billboards, unsolicited guilt trips, screaming protesters and violent acts against providers.

So much for the will of the people.

It amazes me that so much emphasis is directed by media and political circles on the issue of abortion, as though it had anything to do with the future welfare of America in the domestic and/or international arena. A president can do absolutely nothing about criminalizing abortion other than appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. We all know that president’s don’t use litmus tests for such appointments, right? Meanwhile, in nearly every political debate on both sides of the aisle, candidates pander to lobbyists and single-issue voters by professing their stances; pro-life or pro-choice.

I truly believe there are fanatical voters out there who would vote for a candidate willing to sell America down the river, so long as he/she was pro-life.

While the debate drones on, I rarely hear politicians and lobbyists allude to the consequences of relegating abortions back to trailer parks, ghettos, butcheries and third world countries. For that’s where 1.2 million illegal abortions a year (according to the Guttmacher Institute) were performed before Roe v. Wade ruled that a woman has the right to choose. That doesn’t include the thousands who attempted self-induced abortions. Unsanitary procedures and incompetence often resulted in serious medical complications and even death.

I well recall the days, pre-1973, as a Miami-Dade homicide detective when investigators were specifically assigned to handle illegal abortions, jamming court dockets and jail cells with participants in the abortion business, including desperate mothers. In truth, it was a thriving enterprise for the black market. Criminals loved it.

Today, abortions in the first trimester — accounting for 90 percent of all terminations — cost an average of $400. If made illegal, they will cost $2,000 to $5,000 causing even further trauma for women who are without means. That often leads to more crime.

For those who believe that making abortion illegal is going to prevent women from having abortions, I’ve got some cheap beachfront property to sell them, in the Klondike. Just like using drugs and alcohol, there is no amount of legislation that is going to prevent it, not in a free society. Desperate women will continue terminating pregnancies, forced into the clandestine netherworld of crime where physical dangers prevail instead of open and safe procedures performed by qualified professionals.

Criminals are in wait, licking their chops, hoping and praying for a complete ban by the Supreme Court so they can declare themselves open for business. By driving abortion procedures into the underworld, the black market will yield upwards of $2 to $3 billion a year, a lowball estimate. And the taxpayer will foot the enormous costs of medical care for victims, plus police investigations, courts, lawyers and housing inmates who are unlucky enough to get caught. That’s not to mention the ancillary costs of welfare, disability and maladies stemming from emotional disorder.

There’s certainly more to this issue than meets the eye, far beyond questions of morality. The true answer lies, not in caging people as criminals, but in compassion and education for women who feel desperate enough to end a pregnancy. Numbers of legal abortions have declined steadily, though slightly, over the last ten years as more alternative information through counseling has been made available to women.

Now that the president has met his political commitment to loyal supporters by appointing two — ostensibly — anti-abortionists to the high court, it’s likely that a revised challenge to Roe v. Wade will soon follow. And should the moralists have their way, regardless of public opinion, crime will once again raise its ugly head in due appreciation.

We never learn.